How the EMS Field Bill can help fund the industry’s future
Federal grant programs included in the bill support a wide range of initiatives including establishing national EMS standards and helping military medics transition to civilian EMS jobs
Experts have long recognized that EMS should serve as a vital link in a coordinated health care system, and the EMS Field Bill is critical to helping EMS establish long-term sustainability.
The culture of ‘we don’t make a difference’ needs to end. Instead, we need to be the face of health care in our communities by focusing on ways to identify and modify risk in target populations, assess and facilitate treatment of chronic conditions and improve coordination of care for acute complaints. These are feasible measures and only become easier with increased federal support from the EMS Field Bill.
This bill impacts all facets of EMS from the field provider to administrator, and is most evident in grant programs that it supports:
1. EMS Excellence, Quality, Universal Access, Innovation, and Preparedness (EQUIP) Grant program covers operational issues that burden systems and implores them to initiate creative solutions to our current practices. It works to:
- Provide direct funding to EMS agencies for equipment, training, research, and program development
- Spur innovation in the delivery of field EMS
- “Improve EMS agency readiness and preparedness for day-to-day emergency medical response.” (H.R. 809)
2. Field EMS System Performance, Integration, and Accountability (SPIA) Grant program
- Helps provide funding to the second largest aspect of the bill which addresses national standards of quality metrics
- Allows for nationwide comparisons and a minimum quality standard by funding data collection
- Supports implementing and evaluating system-wide quality improvement initiatives”
- “Incorporates national EMS certification for all levels of emergency medical technicians and paramedics”
3. Field EMS Education Grants
- Promote field EMS as a health profession, ensuring the availability, quality, and capability of field EMS educators, practitioners
- Fund educational programs that train field EMS providers and promote the “adoption and implementation of the education standards identified in the ‘Emergency Medical Services Education Agenda for the Future’”
- Develop and implement education courses that instruct “national, evidence-based guidelines” and the “translation of the lessons learned in military medicine to field EMS”
These grants all help alleviate the current financial strain placed on other grant programs, including AFG. By enhancing federal funding allocation to agencies, the focus should shift from providing support that allows organizations to maintain existing standards, to helping them flourish through innovation solutions that go above and beyond the standard of quality care.