BENNINGTON — Sen. Patrick Leahy was recognized on March 21 in Washington, D.C., with an award from the American Ambulance Association, presented by William Hathaway, executive director of the Bennington Rescue Squad, for Leahy’s work on the Dale Long Bill.
Hathaway said he attended the event to help ensure that emergency medical services has a strong voice in the nation’s capitol and in government decisions that affect the field and its practitioners. March 21 was “EMS on the Hill Day,” hosted by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the ambulance association.While Hathaway also met with Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Leahy, D-Vt., was given special recognition for his work on the bill that will allow nongovernmental emergency medical service providers to receive public safety officers’ benefits if they die or are injured in the line of duty.
The bill is named after local ambulance driver and emergency medical technician Long, who died while transporting a patient on June 15, 2009.
A spokesman for Leahy’s office said he has included the Dale Long Act in a larger bill to revamp and update the entire Public Safety Officers Benefits program.
Leahy has made repeated efforts to bring the act up for a vote on the Senate floor but under Senate rules a single senator can hold up legislation.
Sen. Thomas Coburn, R-Okla., has been identified as the lone holdout among the 100 senators and Leahy continues to consult with him to see if he can tell Leahy of any particular concerns or proposed changes that he might suggest, according to Leahy’s office.
About 200 emergency medical services workers were part of the March 21 event.
Hathaway, a member of the American Ambulance Association’s board of directors, said EMS personnel found it “very important to meet with our Congressional leaders to let them know how important emergency medical services are and that our communities rely on them as part of the communities’ health care providers.”
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