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An Inventory of Ambulance Service Regulatory Programs in California

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2012

Richard A. Narad*
Associate Professor, Health Services Administration, California State University, Chico, California, USA
Associate Professor, Health Services Administration, Department of Health and Community Services, California State University, Chico Chico, California 95929-0505, USA, E-Mail:



Ambulance regulation in California is the responsibility of numerous agencies on the state and local levels.


By identifying and analyzing the variety of programs used in one state, this study establishes a framework for evaluation of state and local regulatory programs elsewhere.


This study surveyed all California local EMS agencies (LEMSAs: California's equivalent of regional EMS organizations) to identify the types of regulatory programs used, the foci of these programs (e.g., equipment and personnel), and their application (e.g., public and private providers). All data acquired were analyzed using population parameters rather than inferential statistics.


A response rate of 100% was obtained. Among the regulatory tools used are ordinances, contracts, and franchises. Regulatory standards vary widely as do their applications. Large counties and those that operate their own LEMSA have more extensive regulatory programs than do smaller counties and those who participate in multicounty agencies. Many of the enforcement mechanisms available are weak.


This study suggests several policy implications for California and other states. The wide variation in the types of regulatory programs and the standards that are used suggest that the purpose and impact of regulatory programs should be studied further. The decentralization of the ambulance regulatory program and the lack of integration of ambulance regulations into EMS system planning also raise policy questions. In addition, the role of multicounty EMS agencies, as it relates to regulation of ambulance services, should be reviewed.

Original Research
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 1998

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