Innovative EMS ideas are ripe for grant funding
Grants that fund solution-based programs that solve community problems are here to stay, so now is the time flesh out your big idea
By Janet Smith
A recent DOT-NTSA Innovation Grant opened its arms to a slew of game-changing ideas, and we can expect to see more of this in the future.
Although the submission deadline was June 6 for the grant “promoting innovation for emergency medical services,” I don’t think it’s over by a long shot. More of these types of grans will likely be offered in the future, so the DOT/NTSA process will be onto watch all way through, from award to implementation.
The award winner will receive $100,000 to $225,000 for a solutions-based pilot project implementation, and there is a lot to learn about which agencies get funding and why.
Which ideas are award-winning?
While the application cited integrated mobile health care programs, the grant was open to all types of EMS delivery solutions.
For instance, EMS organizations that want to implement a returning veterans outreach program or a new EMS neighborhood watch program may be considered for an award. Community EMS training and/or EMS citizens’ academies might also catch the eye of grantors.
Much like the Regional EMS Authority in Reno, Nevada, which received a CMS Innovation Grant that collaborates with the University of Nevada Reno Medical School as a grant requirement, the DOT/NTSA’s awardee will engage with its respective state’s oversight agency while implementing the awarded “legal, regulatory and financial frameworks” for the selected pilot project.
As a result of such collaboration, the DOT project innovators must show their solution(s) as offering consistent quality and safety controls, quality medical direction, meticulous data collection, and eventually sustainable program financing.
As it goes with many of these types of projects, government agencies like CMS and the DOT are looking for solutions that may be replicated elsewhere.
Innovation grants will continue to grow
I believe these types of grants offered to innovative public and private for-profit and nonprofit EMS organizations present a win-win problem-solving strategy that is here to stay. What’s more, if the awardee is successful the grant is likely to become available again next year.
And, as a bonus, there is significant prestige and organizational growth that comes with winning and then producing a great solution.
Now is the time to get prepared for the next big opportunity. Treat your new EMS delivery idea like any circumspect entrepreneur by writing a business plan.
Declare on paper the vision and mission for your project. Describe who benefits from the implementation of your program, cite up-front who might disagree or compete with you, and mitigate any opposition.
Be ready to describe the human resources and capital equipment your idea requires, and record the implementation milestones and timelines that will make your idea a real-time solution.
Almost every innovation grant requires proving your idea’s sustainability, so remember to include how your project can continue to fund itself after the grant runs out.