How to Obtain HEW Grants For Emergency Medical Aid
Regulations covering applications for federal grants for emergency medical services systems have been put into effect by the Public Health Service of the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The grant program, authorized by the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act of 1973, emphasizes the need to integrate proposed emergency medical services projects with existing state, regional or local programs and facilities.
Grants are authorized for feasibility studies and the planning of emergency medical services systems, for their establishment and initial operation, and for expansion and improvement.
In putting the regulations into effect July 1, Theodore Cooper, HEW acting assistant secretary for health, pointed out that the thrust of the program was “to provide incentive payments for the development of a comprehensive and integrated system with maximum reliance for funding placed on acquisition of funds and resources under other federal programs, especially for facilities, health manpower training, and transportation and equipment.”
The regulations define an “adequate number of ground, air, and water vehicles and other transportation facilities” required of an emergency medical services system as enough vehicles “to respond to 95 percent” of the emergency assistance calls “within not more than 30 minutes.” The vehicles used for transportation of patients must have “at least two attendants trained to the basic emergency medical technician level, one of whom may be the vehicle operator.”
The system also must include an emergency medical services facility, or facilities, that in 95 percent of the cases “is within 60 minutes travel time from the scene of the emergency.” The system area must include at least one hospital with a physician always on duty in the emergency department and with a “written working agreement with other hospitals offering greater emergency capabilities.”
Another requirement is that residents in the system area who have no professional health training or financial interest in providing health care have “an adequate opportunity to participate in the making of policy for the system.”
Planning for handling mass casualties as the result of a disaster has to be part of the program of an emergency medical services system seeking HEW funds. Applicants for grants also have to provide for the establishment of arrangements with neighboring emergency medical services systems for reciprocal use of facilities when time and distance make this advisable.
Eligible applicants for grants include states, units of local government, public entities administering a compact of other regional arrangement or any other public or nonprofit entities.Priority consideration of applications will be given to state and local governments and regional entities.
Grant applications must contain a budget and an explanation of how the applicant intends to conduct the project. The application also must describe how other federal funds are being used to develop components of the emergency medical services system amd how these funds will continue to be used. State and regional health planning agencies, as well as any emergency medical services council or review and evaluation group, must have at least 30 days to review and comment on HEW grant applications.
Applications for feasibility studies and planning grants must describe the area involved, its population, distribution of medical personnel, and socioeconomic conditions. The project objectives and how they will be attained also must be defined along with a description of the project staff and the qualifications of the members. The budget part of the application has to list all the staff positions and compensation for each position, as well as the amount of federal money to be spent for staff work.
In evaluating applications, the need for emergency medical services in the area affected and the capability of the applicant to carry out the proposed project will be considered. Also important in the evaluation are the extent to which the project will meet the needs of rural areas and the project’s potential for attaining its objectives.
Project funds from HEW can be used for salaries, office space and equipment, conducting surveys, printing, local travel in connection with feasibility studies and planning, and consultants’ fees.
Requests for funds for the establishment and initial operation of emergency medical services systems must describe the organizational structure that will manage the system and detail the resources and capability of the present emergency medical services. The actual and potential emergency medical services standards must be defined along with the performance methods and levels.
A budget and schedule for implementation of the project must be included along with a description of the capability of the emergency medical services when the project has been completed.
Evaluation of applications will include the extent of coordination with statewide emergency medical services systems, the need for the project in the particular area and the applicant’s capability to conduct the project. Other considerations include the soundness of the fiscal plan, the project’s potential to become self-supporting and the degree to which the project meets the needs of rural areas.
Use of funds
Grants for establishment and initial operation of an emergency medical services system can be used to buy ambulances meeting federal specifications, purchase communications equipment, and make alterations to facilities if the work is essential to the project. Under certain circumstances, federal money can be used for training personnel and buying training material.
Grant money also can be used to establish a 911 emergency phone system, although federal money cannot be used to pay costs customarily paid by a phone company or local government.
When applications are made to expand and improve emergency medical services systems, the information required is essentially the same as that required for the establishment and initial operation grants. Evaluation of the applications for expanding services also follows the guidelines mentioned for evaluating applications for establishing systems.
In addition to using improvement grants for the same purposes as establishment and initial operation grants, improvement project funds also can be used for acquiring equipment and existing facilities, exclusive of land and offsite improvements, and for modernizing facilities.
Applications for all types of grants offered by HEW through the Public Health Service should be addressed to the regional health administrator, attention of the EMS coordinator, at the HEW regional office for the area of the applicant.