Creative ways to fund EMS innovations

Look to other health care stakeholders and neighboring agencies to fund performance measurement and mobile integrated health care initiatives

"How will we pay for this?" is the question I asked again and again while attending and presenting at Pinnacle EMS Leadership forum. The sessions I sat in about the quality imperative, mobile health care integration, and the challenges for EMS leaders sparked ideas and projects that quickly filled up my notebook. But I always came back to the same question on how to pay for new programs and initiatives. 

Operational and financial feasibility is a reality every EMS manager must contemplate for any project. In this economic climate, grants that are excellent proposals are being denied not because they are written poorly, but because competition for grants is so strong. 

Decisions not to fund a proposal don’t necessarily mean the project has no merit or doesn’t provide a valuable contribution. We need to look beyond grantors for other creative funding sources for worthwhile EMS initiatives. 

Here are two options every agency should be exploring: 

1. Look to your stakeholders for launch and maintenance funding 

If you are interested in initiating a mobile integrated health care project, identify the stakeholders who will benefit from the success the project. Typically the largest financial beneficiary is the local hospital that will see reduced readmissions or decreased emergency department utilization. When cultivating support for your program, create a financial plan that involves collaborating with the hospital and their funders to financially support the project. 

2. Collaborate with neighboring agencies 

EMS is a team-driven industry, so embrace your neighboring agencies to accomplish shared objectives. Perhaps collaboration with your mutual aid partners will lead to access to a larger group of funders. Together you might be eligible for funding from regional banks, electric/gas companies, or a community foundation. Collaboration enhances your pool of funders and creates a stronger grant application from the grant maker’s perspective. 

Developing innovative mobile integrated health care programs and creating regional quality initiatives or performance measures is complex and requires extensive networking. When forming a support network, consider how other organizations are funded and opportunities for shared benefits and collaboration.

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