Effective July 1, 2012, dispatchers must be trained in the Emergency Medical Dispatch Protocol Reference System (EMDPRS).  EMDPRS is a system that “includes a protocol for emergency medical dispatcher response to calls, including structured caller questioning for patient condition, incident facts, and scene safety, pre-arrival instructions, post-dispatch instructions, selection of appropriate field resources to dispatch (such as first responder, basic life support, and/or advanced life support), and a continuous quality assurance program that measures compliance with the protocol through ongoing random case review of each emergency medical dispatcher.”  560 CMR 5.03.

In other words, if you answer 911 calls, you must be EMD certified.  This new training involves a process that is much more detailed than before.  Dispatchers will have to provide pre-arrival instructions and dispatch life support in compliance with written text of scripts and other processes within a Department-approved EMDPRS.  So, every request for medical assistance will involve the dispatcher following a set of policies and procedures for the safe and effective use of the Department-approved EMDPRS.

Furthermore, under these new regulations, each EMD resource must establish a continuous quality assurance, improvement, and management program that, at a minimum, must include: documentation of the quality assurance case review process utilized to identify EMD compliance with the EMDPRS; written approval of the EMD medical director; ongoing random case review in accordance with the guidelines of the EMDPRS; and regular feedback of performance results to emergency medical dispatchers.  In other words, there is the potential for liability and discipline.

If you are a dispatcher and are (or will be) in negotiations, I would advise that you raise these new regulations at the table when bargaining.  They add significant responsibilities and duties to your job.  Although it is mandated by the State, the Department should recognize the added work you are doing.

If you are not a dispatcher (e.g., a patrol officer) but are being asked to comply with these new certifications, call your union representative to discuss the probability that these new duties could be a change in your working conditions and thus should be bargained.


Since we filed our brief in the Boston Quinn Bill case, the City filed its opposition, and we filed our reply on behalf of the plaintiff officers.  Again, the suit claims that the City of Boston violated the Quinn Bill when it reduced educational stipends to officers.  The City responds that it reduced the payments due to the Commonwealth’s shortfall in Quinn reimbursement, and that it was entitled to do so due to the collective bargaining agreements with the three Boston Police Unions.  The only problem with the City’s response is that the law is clear that parties can’t bargain about everything, and can’t bargain to cut Quinn.  The only state court judge to reach this issue found just that, and we believe the SJC will too.

The most recent development is that the Massachusetts Municipal Association has filed an Amicus brief in the case defending the city.  This brief is amazing in that the MMA’s counsel waxes poetic about the virtues of bargaining over EVERYTHING.  This is the same MMA that for over 30 years has claimed that it CANNOT bargain about most things – that everything is “an inherent managerial right.”  The MMA saying we should bargain everything is like Michele Bachmann saying something sane.  It’s like the Boston Globe saying that Police Details are great.  It’s like Snookie saying she thinks sobriety is way cool.  You get the idea – it’s a complete 180.

We’re getting ready for, and looking forward to, the argument.  As always, we’ll keep you posted.

Don’t take my word for it.  Here are all of the briefs in the case: