State Office of Commercial Ambulance Licensing and Regulation

The State Office of Commercial Ambulance Licensing and Regulation (SOCALR) provides leadership and direction to support the operations and growth of Maryland’s commercial ambulance industry. It protects the health, safety, and welfare of persons using these services through the development and modification of statewide requirements for commercial ambulance services and vehicles and the uniform and equitable regulation of the commercial ambulance industry throughout Maryland.

At the conclusion of FY 2023, 34 commercial ambulance services and 481 commercial ambulance units held licenses issued by SOCALR.

SOCALR strives for efficient and responsive leadership and oversight of EMS and Medical Services vehicle licensing. The department plans and develops strategies to streamline internal business processes and implement methods to enhance records management for commercial vehicle licensing. SOCALR continues to maintain a year-round licensure renewal schedule, inspecting all commercial ambulances at least once during the year. SOCALR has updated and enhanced several of its operating systems and applications to improve productivity and reporting capabilities.

In addition to yearly unit renewal inspections, SOCALR conducts random unit inspections throughout the year. In FY 2023, SOCALR conducted random inspections on 103 days, visited 808 sites, and inspected 106 units. Inspections included 10 surveys of licensed commercial services bases. Surveys are conducted by a team of SOCALR personnel who provide follow-up reports outlining any corrective actions necessary to maintain COMAR Title 30.09 compliance.

SOCALR works closely with commercial services and thirdparty electronic Patient Care Records (ePCR) vendors to ensure data is imported accurately and efficiently from the vendor platforms. As MIEMSS transitions to the upgrade to NEMSIS 3.5, National EMS Information System, reports are randomly sampled for accuracy of information, and reviewed for completeness and to verify the receipt of data from services that import from third-party vendors. These measures are used to improve patient care through the standardization and aggregation of patient care data.

In May 2021, under the Governor’s Emergency Declaration, SOCALR implemented a regulatory change that allowed Commercial BLS ambulances to be driven by non-EMSlicensed drivers. A waiver program was implemented to allow commercial services, who have gained approvals, to employ drivers on BLS units. Following the expiration of the emergency declaration, this program was approved by the EMS Board and adopted into COMAR. Currently, SOCALR has granted the waiver to 13 commercial services, which employ 172 approved non-EMS-licensed drivers.

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