NEMSAC releases first activity report
The document highlights safety, evidence-based EMS, and performance-based funding and reimbursement as the three areas of most concern
Updated June 2015
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the launch of the first Summary Report of the work conducted by the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) between 2010 and mid-2012. NEMSAC was formed in 2007 to provide advice and guidance to NHTSA on EMS concerns.
The document includes a review of NEMSAC’s activities during that time and features an overall summary of recommendations to NHTSA. It highlights the three areas of most concern to NEMSAC during the period covered: safety, evidence-based EMS, and performance-based funding and reimbursement.
The Summary Report also includes information on NEMSAC operations. Its 25 members, selected for two-year terms, come from diverse segments of the EMS community. Members are dedicated to specific topic areas and serve on related committees to conduct research and engage in discussion and debate to develop recommendations to NHTSA. Committees take their work to NEMSAC for public deliberation and approval.
To download a copy of the report, or for more information about the current membership and upcoming public meetings, visit ems.gov/NEMSAC.htm.
Guidelines for state NG911 legislation released
New methods of communications, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and broadband, have surpassed the traditional 911 system in their ability to carry the data load responders need and potentially increase reliability during disasters.
The federal Next Generation 911 (NG911) initiative is a research and development project that will assist in the transition to an IP-based foundation for the delivery of multimedia communications to public safety answering points. In an effort to coordinate and support the transition, the National 911 Program, housed within the Office of Emergency Medical Services at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has worked with local, regional, state and federal stakeholders; private industry representatives; and advocacy associations to develop “Guidelines for State NG911 Legislative Language,” published in late 2012.
Many existing laws, regulations and tariffs specifically reference traditional 911 technologies, which may inhibit the implementation of NG911. Each state faces unique challenges in implementing NG911, as current 911 laws vary dramatically from state to state and deficiencies in 911 governance, inadequate funding models and non-inclusion of new technologies must be addressed before NG911 can be implemented, according to the Guidelines document.
While the Guidelines is not a one-size-fits-all approach to state 911 legislation, it presents ideal yet generic legislative language that can be customized to address the unique needs and challenges of each state. The guidelines highlight an inventory of NG911 transition issues and model legislative language a state can adopt to address these matters.
The Guidelines are available at tinyurl.com/dyn9t39.
Field EMS Bill hits new congress
The Field EMS Quality, Innovation and Cost-Effectiveness Improvement Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 113th Congress, seated in January. Because all bills are wiped from congressional calendars when a new Congress is seated, the Field EMS Bill, as it’s called, had to be introduced again, this time by Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.).
The bill is designed to improve access to lifesaving EMS services and integrate EMS within the larger health care system. The legislation would establish an Office of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement a national EMS strategy and establish grants to promote excellence in, and access to, field EMS. The Field EMS Bill would also improve EMS system performance, integration and accountability to ensure preparedness, data collection and standardization of certification; and it would convene a Field EMS Medical Oversight Advisory Committee, among other provisions to strengthen and support field EMS.
The bill was accepted in the House and referred to the Subcommittee on Health by both the House Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means committees. It has not yet been introduced in the Senate.
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 was signed into law by President Obama in March, maintaining programs that ensure national medical and public health preparedness and response capabilities and adding provisions to strengthen the national resilience to natural and intentional disasters.
Among new provisions are changes to the preparedness goals of the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS), overseen by the Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, as is all responsibility under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act
(PAHPA). Among the changes, the NHSS now specifies that the drills and exercises included in periodic evaluations of federal and local preparedness and response capabilities also feature drills and exercises to ensure medical surge capacity for events without notice, under purview of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. The NHSS also requires the Assistant Secretary, in respect to overseeing advanced research, development and procurement of security and pandemic countermeasure products, to identify and minimize gaps and inefficiencies in medical and public health preparedness and response.
As part of the Act, the National Disaster Medical System is reauthorized through fiscal year 2018, with new responsibilities assigned to the HHS secretary, who must ensure that a range of public health and medical capabilities are represented and the needs of at-risk individuals are taken into account. Many other programs, such as the All-Hazards Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan and other federal agencies’ responsibilities, are reauthorized in the new law and revised.