Indiana passed a religious freedom restoration act this week. The allows business to refuse service to gay people over religious feeling about homosexuality. The law does not allow EMS to refuse to respond to calls, but a loop hole allows individual medic to refuse services. In response now dispatchers have to ask if the patient is gay.
Dispatchers will have access to a list of crews who have opted out of treating openly gay patients. If the caller tells the dispatcher the patient is gay, then dispatch will have to send units that are not on the list.
EMS directors are calling this a scheduling nightmare. “I had to change up crews to make sure I have folks with the same mind set as partners. Everyone in a rig needs to be either willing to treat gays or not willing. I also need to make sure every shift has enough crews willing to take the gay calls. Hate to have a busy night and only one crew free, but it is a religious crew, know what I mean.”
Law makers say this is just a minor unforeseen hiccup in the law. While many call this law legalized discrimination, other insist is only about honoring religious choices.
Many of the EMTs we talked to said they could care less about if a patient is gay or not. Most only care if the patient is in need of emergency transport or a taxi service. A few medics we talked to asked if lawmakers could pass a use EMS for emergencies only law.