Cota Cole Attorney Authors Article Explaining “Section 201” of the Emergency Medical Services Act

by on December 16, 2014

posted in Emergency Medical Services,

The following is from the Introduction of the article, “‘Grandfathering’ of Emergency Medical Services Under ‘Section 201’ of the Emergency Medical Services Act,” published in the Public Law Journal, Fall 2014, by Derek P. Cole.  For the full text of this article, click here:  Public Law Journal EMS Article

The Emergency Medical Services System and the Prehospital Emergency Medical Care Personnel Act, or as it is generally known, the “EMS Act,” comprehensively regulates emergency medical care in California.  Enacted in 1980, the Act provides for the creation of emergency medical procedures and protocols, certification of emergency medical personnel, and coordination of emergency responses by fire departments, ambulance transporters, hospitals, and other providers within the emergency medical services (“EMS”) system.

One section of the EMS Act that has generated controversy is Health & Safety Code section 1797.201, or as it is more commonly referred to, “Section 201.”  This section is one of two “grandfather” statutes in the EMS Act. Section 201 gives certain cities and fire districts the ability to continue administration of EMS as they provided when the Act was first adopted.

Section 201 was added late in the legislative process that led to passage of the EMS Act.  It was included to address concerns some cities expressed about the legislation’s potential impact on their authority to continue providing EMS programs they had established.  Intended as a “temporary” and “transitional” provision, Section 201 is today viewed by some city and fire-district EMS providers as the source of an important right to exercise control over certain aspects of their EMS programs.  This view has occasionally led to tension—and in a few instances, litigation—with the local EMS agencies that regulate these providers.

Because Section 201 has become so significant to the manner in which the EMS Act is administered, this article is intended to provide a summary of the section, both as written and as judicially construed.  Section 201 can best be explained by focusing on its five distinct clauses, each of which is explained separately below.

Before analyzing these clauses, this article examines the EMS’s Act legislative intent, and specifically Section 201’s late emergence in the Act’s legislative history.  This discussion will provide helpful context for understanding the section’s substantive provisions.

This excerpt and the attached article are reprinted with the permission of the State Bar of California.


tags: emergency medical care, Emergency Medical Services Act, EMS, health care law, Section 201,

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