TEMSA Applauds Governor’s Signing of Bill Clarifying How EMS Agencies Respond to Requests During Disasters

SB 2133 Affirms That All Ambulance Patients’ Needs Can Be Addressed During Declared Disasters

Austin, Texas – June 19, 2023 – The Texas EMS Alliance (TEMSA) is pleased to announce that Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 2133 (88R) into law. The new law clarifies how EMS agencies are to prepare for and respond to dialysis patients’ requests for service and more critical calls during declared disasters.

Current law in Texas requires EMS medical directors to create protocols giving “preference” to the emergency transfer of a dialysis patient from the patient’s location directly to an outpatient end stage renal facility during disasters. The language, contained in SB 1876 from the 87th Texas Legislature, is widely construed to mean that EMS agencies had to prioritize such transports over more urgent 911 calls.

SB 2133, which goes into effect on September 1, 2023, requires EMS agencies to create plans for transporting dialysis patients to and from dialysis treatment facilities during declared disasters. Importantly, the language gives EMS agencies the flexibility to utilize alternative modes of transport beyond licensed ambulances for this service. Disaster response plans also may expressly prioritize calls for patients suffering from stroke, cardiac arrest or other acute emergencies over transports for dialysis patients.

SB  2133 and SB 1876 were authored by Sen. Borris Miles and Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD. TEMSA applauds these leaders and the 88th Texas Legislature for their work to create a practical framework to ensure that all ambulance patients’ needs are met during disasters. 

About the Texas EMS Alliance

The Texas EMS Alliance was founded in 2014 to serve as the unified voice of Texas EMS agencies. Over 85 public, fire-based, private, non-profit and hospital-based Texas EMS agencies providing 9-1-1 service to rural and urban Texas communities represent TEMSA.