HARRISBURG – With local emergency medical services organizations struggling to attract and retain personnel, the PA House Health Committee approved a bill aimed at reversing the trend. EMTs, EMRs, and paramedics used to take a state-developed exam in order to be licensed by the Commonwealth. The state exam was eliminated in 2013 and applicants for these positions have had to take a national exam.  Laws governing what EMTs, EMRs, and paramedics can do vary by state. For example, EMTs in other states are permitted to start an intravenous line in a patient, while PA EMTs are not. As a result, they may suffer on the national exam if they are asked about it. This has led some to fail the national exam and reduced the number of skilled first responders available in the state. House Bill 2579 would require the PA Department of Health to develop and offer a state exam for EMTs, EMRs and paramedics to ensure PA EMTs, EMRs, and paramedics are tested on material that is specifically relevant to their service in the Commonwealth. If a local organization wants to continue requiring the national exam, they would be allowed to do that. The measure now heads to the full PA House for consideration.