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Field EMS Quality, Innovation and Cost-Effectiveness Improvement Act

February 10, 2014

FROM: NAEMT-National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
RE:           Field EMS Bill

On January 27, 2013, the NAEMT Board of Directors unanimously voted for our association to take the lead in supporting passage of H.R. 809, the Field EMS Quality, Innovation and Cost-Effectiveness Improvement Act, also known as the “Field EMS Bill.” This decision was taken in direct response to members consistently citing  the lack of state and federal funding for EMS as one of the key challenges we face in delivering quality care to our patients.

The Field EMS Bill was originally introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011 to provide a path toward the vision outlined by the 2006 Institute Of Medicine report, Emergency Medical Services: At the Crossroads. The report identified systemic problems in EMS and noted that, while fire and police first responders have several targeted federal support programs, there is no dedicated federal funding stream for field EMS practitioners to ensure their capability to respond to medical emergencies as part of a coordinated emergency care system. In many areas of the nation, EMS services are highly fragmented, poorly equipped and insufficiently prepared for day-to-day operations, let alone natural or man-made major disasters.

The Field EMS Bill will provide a path out of the crossroads and toward the vision outlined by the IOM without adding to the federal deficit in the following ways:

  1. Recognize HHS as Primary Federal Agency for EMS and Trauma Care:  The bill would recognize HHS as the primary federal agency for EMS and Trauma Care, consolidate certain programs within HHS into an Office of EMS and Trauma, and require a long overdue federal strategy.
  2. Enhance and Focus Federal Support Toward Quality, Innovation and Cost-Effectiveness: Establish essential programs to foster improvements in quality, innovation and preparedness, and strengthen accountability among states, EMS agencies and educational entities. 
  3. Improve Quality and Accountability: Enhance quality by promoting physician-led guidelines for medical oversight and direction, evaluate medical liability and reimbursement issues affecting medical direction, and enhance data collection and integration of patient medical information.
  4. Test Innovative Delivery Models: Evaluate and test innovative models for access and delivery of field EMS, including alternative dispositions of patients not requiring transport to a hospital.
  5. Enhance Research: Enhance research in Field EMS to further improve quality, outcomes and promote the adoption of cost-effective treatments in the field.
  6. EMS Trust Fund: Establish an Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund to be funded by voluntary contributions made by taxpayers when filing their federal income tax forms for the purpose of funding the initiatives provided in this legislation.

We know of no better way to support our EMS practitioners across the nation than by going to Capitol Hill and advocating for this important legislation. We do recognize that passage of this bill will not be easy and will require a multi-year sustained effort on which our association will need to focus substantial resources.  However there is no amount of funds that can replace our most powerful resource in this effort – our members – contacting their Congressional leaders to let them know why they should co-sponsor this bill.

Read a summary of the bill here. Access the full text of the bill here. Access our ENGAGE! online legislative service to contact Congressional leaders here.

Guaranteed cash flow during transition.