Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., filed a proposal Monday to reauthorize a federal grant program that supports rural emergency medical service agencies.
The plan, introduced with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, allocates funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to support agencies in training and recruiting staff, conducting certification courses and purchasing equipment.
“In Illinois, rural EMS agencies are a lifeline for their communities,” Durbin said in a statement. “These first responders are on the front lines, and we must ensure that they have the proper training and equipment to properly address the emergency in front of them.”
The grant program, initially created in 2018 as part of the quinquennial farm bill package, most recently grew to allocate $10.5 million annually.
A statement from the offices of Durbin and Collins noted that reauthorization is important, especially as the opioid epidemic rages on since EMS agencies may be the sole healthcare providers in their area.