EMS Agenda for the Future proposed
The EMS Agenda for the Future establishes the goals and recommendations for the future of EMS in America. The strategic plan and needs assessment guide was introduced during National EMS Week, May 18-24, 1997.
The vision for EMS as presented in the Agenda is as follows:
“Emergency Medical Services (EMS) of the future will be community-based health management that is fully integrated with the overall health care system. It will have the ability to identify and modify illness and injury risks, provide acute illness and injury care and follow-up, and contribute to the treatment of chronic conditions and community health monitoring. This new entity will be developed from redistribution of existing health care resources, and will be integrated with other health care providers and public health and public safety agencies. It will improve community health and result in more appropriate use of acute health care resources. EMS will remain the public`s emergency medical safety net.”
Proposed is the continued development of the following 14 EMS attributes: integration of health services, EMS research, legislation and regulations, system finance, human resources, medical direction, education systems, public education, prevention, public access, communications systems, clinical care, information systems, and evaluation.
Among the Agenda`s predictions about the nature of the future of and the environment in which EMS will exist are the following:
EMS will represent the intersection of public safety, public health, and health care systems.
EMS will continue in some form; and the public expects that it will continue.
EMS will continue to be diverse at the local level.
As a component of health care systems, EMS will be influenced significantly by its continuing evolution.
There will be increasing need for information regarding EMS systems and outcomes.
It will be necessary to continue to make some EMS system-related decisions on the basis of limited information.
The media will continue to influence the public`s perception of EMS.
Federal funding/financial resources will be decreasing.
To make good decisions, public policymakers will need to be well-informed about EMS issues.
Among the initiatives that should be considered to strengthen the EMS “team,” according to the Agenda, are the following:
Expand the role of EMS in public health and prevention.
Involve EMS in community health monitoring.
Integrate EMS with other health care providers and provider networks.
Be cognizant of the special needs of the entire population.
Working together and forming new partnerships are vital to achieving the vision for the future, the Agenda stresses. It suggests that at least the following partnerships be considered: managed care industry, fire service, ambulance industry, academic medical/institution research, consumers, economists, physicians, state EMS directors, elected leaders, public health agents, education specialists, and communications experts.
The plan was developed by the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) and the National Association of State EMS Directors (NASEMSD), with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)/ Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the input of a panel of 178 individuals representing a cross-section of EMS stakeholders and national organizations (which met in December 1995), according to the National Association of EMS Physicians. The process was guided by a steering committee of a dozen representatives from prominent EMS organizations.
“Our goal is that EMS remain the public`s emergency medical safety net and continue to serve all Americans,” explains Ricardo Martinez, MD, NHTSA administrator. “The Agenda will help us achieve our goal to create a more effective, efficient, and accountable EMS system that better meets the needs of every community in America.”
The Agenda Implementation Committee was to reconvene in Washington, D.C., May 21-23 (after press time), to finalize a “roadmap” for realizing the defined goals.
For additional information and a copy of the EMS Agenda for the Future, contact NHTSA, Emergency Medical Services Division, 400 Seventh Street, SW, NTS-14; Washington, DC 20590; fax: (202) 366-7721.