Assemblymember O’Donnell’s Bill to Address Wall Time Signed by Governor

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO) – Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1223 by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach). AB 1223 takes the first step in addressing delays in ambulance patient offload time at hospital emergency departments, also known as “wall time.”

When there are delays in the admission process, EMS crews must wait, leaning against the hospital wall, with their patients until they can be admitted, hence the term wall time. The bill requires the California Emergency Medical Service Authority to create a methodology for the reporting of wall time.

“In my discussions with firefighters and paramedics the issue of wall time at emergency departments always comes up,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell. “When EMS crews are delayed at hospitals they cannot respond to other emergency calls. This forces EMS providers to pull crews from other areas, reducing coverage, and causing a public safety risk. This bill creates a common tool set to be used across the state to help identify the causes of this problem.” A national study of more than 200 cities found that wall time at emergency departments had more than doubled since 2006, from 20 minutes to 45 minutes.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2016.

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Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell represents the 70th Assembly District which includes Long Beach, Signal Hill, San Pedro and Catalina Island.