Another victory has been registered in The American Legion's ongoing licensing and credentialing campaign. On April 2, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill that "provides that the Emergency Medical Services Commission issue a license or certificate to a military service applicant who meets the necessary requirements." The new law, which takes effect on July 1, spells out those requirements as completing a military training program in emergency medicine, working in the related military occupational specialty, and performing those duties at a level that is "substantially equivalent" to that of a civilian licensee, such as an emergency medical technician or paramedic. In practical terms, a military medic or corpsman's skills and experience will now be recognized by their civilian counterparts in Indiana.
The bill, which unanimously passed in the Indiana General Assembly, also allows for the issuance of a temporary certificate or provisional license "while the military service applicant is satisfying requirements as determined by the (Emergency Medical Services) commission."
"Helping Hoosier veterans put their military training and experience to work when they return is good for them and good for the state," Pence said. "(This) is good Hoosier common sense that honors the brave men and women who served our nation and sacrificed to protect our freedom."
The American Legion Department of Indiana played a significant role in the passage of its new state law by working with the Department of Defense on codifying it and lobbying both houses of the state legislature on the bill's behalf. On the day after the bill was signed, Department Commander Richard Jewell, a Vietnam War combat veteran, recalled his testimony before members of the General Assembly and how he viewed the skills of the military's emergency medical practitioners. "I spoke off the cuff, but told them basically that I had personally seen these folks in action in Vietnam (practicing emergency medicine) under the most horrific conditions imaginable ," Jewell said. "If I was in any kind of medical emergency or accident, there's nobody I would rather come to my side than a combat medic or corpsman."
In an effort spearheaded by its National Economic Commission, Legion departments are campaigning on behalf of legislation that would require their state's agencies and bodies to recognize appropriate military training and experience as fulfilling all or at least part of their licensing and credentialing requirements. The Legion also favors the logical state-to-state transfer of licenses and certifications previously issued to a servicemember or military spouse who, by virtue of their service, does not reside in the originating state.