Federal Medical Aid Funds Authorized

Federal Medical Aid Funds Authorized

The Emergency Medical Services System Act of 1973, signed by President Nixon in November, authorizes appropriations totaling $160 million during the next 2½ years for grants and contracts. In the same time, the act authorizes a total of $15 million for research.

The act authorizes appropriations of $30 million for the fiscal year ending next June 30, $60 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1975, and $70 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1976. During the first two fiscal years, funds could be appropriated for feasibility studies and planning, the establishment and initial operation of emergency medical services, and the expansion and improvement of these services. In the third year, funds are authorized for everything except feasibility studies and planning. An appropriation of $5 million is authorized for each of the three fiscal years for contracts with private entities and individuals for research in emergency medical techniques, methods, devices and delivery.

Federal participation

During the first year, federal funding for the establishment and initial operation of emergency medical systems and for their expansion and improvement can be as much as 50 percent of the grant or contract. Where there is exceptional need for financial aid, federal funding may be increased to 75 percent. In the second year of projects for initial operation, federal funding will be 25 percent for most projects and 50 percent where unusual financial need is demonstrated. For feasibility studies and planning, the amount of federal funding will be determined by the secretary of health, education and welfare, who will administer the act.

It should be noted that Congress has made no appropriations to fund the new act. However, if and when money becomes available, the entities eligible to receive grants and contracts are states, local government units, regional public organizations, and “any other public entity and any nonprofit private entity.”

Use of 911 required

The new act gives special consideration to emergency medical systems which “will coordinate with statewide emergency medical services systems.” In another section, the act calls for emergency medical systems to have a central communications system that uses, or will use, the universal emergency telephone numer, 911. There must also be direct communications linking the central communications system with other emergency medical systems.

Vehicles and facilities in an emergency system must “meet appropriate standards relating to location, design, performance and equipment” and the personnel must meet training and experience requirements.

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