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NASEMSO News Archive 2009

2009 NASEMSO Annual Report

CMS and ONC Issue Regulations Proposing a Definition of 'Meaningful Use' and Setting Standards for Electronic Health Record Incentive Program

(12/30/09) The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) encourage public comment on two regulations issued today that lay a foundation for improving quality, efficiency and safety through meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. The regulations will help implement the EHR incentive programs enacted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).

A proposed rule issued by CMS outlines proposed provisions governing the EHR incentive programs, including defining the central concept of “meaningful use” of EHR technology. An interim final regulation (IFR) issued by ONC sets initial standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EHR technology. Both regulations are open to public comment.

Health Reform Update for EMS (12/24/09) Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) on Dec. 21 released the Manager's Amendment to the base Senate health reform bill. The Manager's Amendment prevents a funding gap from occurring between Jan. 1, 20110 and March 2010. During this time, the urban ground base rate increase of 2% and the rural ground increase of 3% would have expired until they were set to be reinstated in April 2010. (The air-specific rural definition was impacted by the same funding gap.) The Manager's Amendment prevents the lapse in payments from occurring. In addition, the Super Rural 22.6% ground bonus payments that were set to expire on Dec. 31, 2009, were continued through calendar year 2010. (See provisions starting on page 162 of the legislative text.) In general, the 383-page amendment includes a number of changes, including provisions specifically added to obtain Sen. Nelson (D-NE) and other on-the-fence Democratic Members' votes. (See the summary of all the changes here.) According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill will cost $871 billion over 10 years, reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the same period and cover more than 31 million people. The Democrats now have the 60 votes to pass the bill - barring any procedural roadblocks - before Christmas. Reid is about to file cloture, setting up the first of 3 key votes for early Monday morning. Final passage could come on Wednesday or Thursday. The final Senate bill will likely then be reconciled with the House bill in a Conference Committee set to begin at the end of the year or in early January.

FICEMS Releases Report on State EMS System Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (12/10/09) State EMS System Pandemic Influenza Preparedness has been published by the Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS). The FICEMS prepared this report to improve coordination among its member agencies on EMS system pandemic influenza preparedness. The report provides further detailed analysis of EMS and 9-1-1 pandemic influenza preparedness gaps. This analysis serves as the basis for five recommended strategies and associated action steps to be taken by FICEMS member agencies in improving EMS system preparedness nationally.

Drew Dawson Receives NHTSA Administrator’s Employee of the Year Award (12/09/09) Office of EMS Director Drew Dawson has been awarded the NHTSA Administrator’s Employee of the Year Award. Acting Deputy Administrator Ron Medford presented the award during a December 3rd ceremony held in the expansive West Atrium of DOT headquarters. In accepting the award, Mr. Dawson was cheered on by a packed crowd of NHTSA employees, including the entire staff of the Office of EMS and key State and Federal EMS leaders.

However, the Awards Program more specifically outlines what earned Mr. Dawson this year’s honor: “His expertise, thoughtfulness, strategic thinking, work ethic, and demeanor have given NHTSA a model EMS office that plays an outsize role in developing, coordinating, and implementing national EMS policies.”

Outsize
Drew Dawson brought an “outsize” work ethic to NHTSA in 2003 that’s arguably as large as his home State of Montana, where he served for more than 20 years as its EMS Director. In fact, according to staff, he is rarely found without his Blackberry in hand and at times they have had to insist he take vacation time. And while that staff is small in number, their efforts and accomplishments under Mr. Dawson’s leadership have been anything but. This year alone, two additional members of the EMS Staff, Laurie Flaherty and Hector Williams, won Administrator Awards of their own. Working as part of a larger agency team, Ms. Flaherty and Mr. Williams were honored for “diligence, perseverance, and creativity in rapidly developing administrative rules and implementing a new multi-million dollar E9-1-1 grant program.”

Coordinating
Their winning yet collaborative effort brings to mind the word “coordinating.” Anyone who knows Mr. Dawson knows of his commitment to keep NHTSA true to its roots as the “coordinating” agency on EMS system issues within the Federal government. In a 2006 interview with EMS Magazine, Mr. Dawson had the following to say about his approach to working with other Federal agencies on EMS issues and policies: “We are not in competition with each other, but rather we work together in a coordinated manner­tapping each other's talent, expertise and resources; cooperating with each other rather than building silos around our respective programs.”

FICEMS and NEMSAC
Indeed, under Mr. Dawson’s watch the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS) and the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) have launched and are currently formalizing the NHTSA tradition of bringing people in and outside of government together to cooperate on solutions to the EMS challenges of today, while planning for those of tomorrow.

Congratulations to Mr. Dawson, his EMS Office, and all the NHTSA Administrator Award winners. Photos from the NHTSA Administrator Awards event featuring Mr. Dawson, his team, and State & Federal EMS guests.

NASEMSO Members Asked to Comment on DHS Draft of Proposed Guidance for Protecting Responders' Health Following a Wide-Area Anthrax Attack (11/18/09) The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) has posted its “Proposed Guidance for Protecting Responders' Health Following a Wide-Area Anthrax Attack” to the Federal Register. The draft guidance document can be downloaded here. This document provides policy recommendations for protection of personnel responding to a wide-area anthrax attack from exposure to Bacillis anthracis spores. A Federal interagency working group, consisting of subject matter experts in biodefense, infectious diseases, and occupational health and safety, has developed this draft consensus guidance regarding appropriate protective measures for responders in the immediate post-attack environment of an aerosolized anthrax attack. This proposed guidance statement reflects the most current understanding of the unique environment that will exist after a wide-area anthrax release. These recommendations will evolve with stakeholder input, scientific developments, and availability of new environmental monitoring techniques.

NASEMSO member feedback on the draft document, to assist DHS in finalizing this guidance informed by user experiences and operational feasibility. While overall comments are valued, critical feedback in the areas of defining tiers as a strategy for determining risk of exposure, the use of an activity based approach rather than occupational specialties, and feedback on options for ensuring appropriate medical countermeasures are immediately available to the responder community is sought. Please email your comments to Leslee Stein-Spencer no later than Nov. 24, 2009, in order for your comments to be included in NASEMOS's response.

NASEMSO Mourns the Loss of David Taylor, Arkansas State EMS Director (11/09/09) On Nov. 5, 2009, the EMS community lost a visionary leader and great friend with the unexpected death of Arkansas State EMS Director, David Taylor. NASEMSO invites all state EMS officials and partner groups to share their memories of David, share photos, and express their sympathies to his family and friends at the NASEMSO memorial site in honor of David.
     David started his career in emergency services as an EMT in 1989. He became a paramedic in 1991 and joined the Arkansas Department of Health on June 1, 1999 as an EMS Specialist. He served as Certification Administrator, Interim Director, and he became Director of Emergency Medical Services in April 2003. 
    David was a member of the Paramedic Society, Instructor Society, Arkansas EMT Association and he served as a National Registry Paramedic/Instructor.  At the time of his death, he was the Southeast Regional Director, Treasurer, and Program Committee Chair for the National Association of State EMS Officials.
    President Steve Blessing issued this statement on behalf of NASEMSO, “David Taylor was a dedicated family man, a committed public servant, and a good friend and colleague.  We were blessed by his friendship, grateful for his commitment, indebted to his experience, and honored by his presence.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife and children and all our colleagues in the Arkansas Office of EMS and Trauma. We will deeply miss him.”

NHTSA Calls for Nominations for Appointment to the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (10/20/09) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is soliciting applications for appointment or reappointment to the Dept. of Transportation's National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (NEMSAC). The purpose of NEMSAC is to serve as a nationally recognized council of emergency medical services (EMS) representatives and consumers to provide advice and recommendations regarding EMS to DOT and its modal administration, NHTSA, and through NHTSA to the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS). Applications for membership (including resume or curriculum vitae (CV), letters of recommendation, and a statement identifying the EMS sector or discipline that the applicant seeks to represent) should reach NHTSA via email to drew.dawson@dot.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, Friday, Dec, 1, 2009. Download Federal Register notice.

Ryan White Act Passes House with New Additions that Affect EMS (09/23/09)The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment and Extension Act of 2009 passed the U.S. House Oct. 21 by a vote of 408 to 9. The U.S. Senate passed the bill earlier this week, so the bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

There are several new additions to the Ryan White Act that affect emergency care – and specifically emergency responders. Please note the list established under Section 2695; it essentially determines what infectious diseases should be considered "potentially life-threatening." The list also is used to determine whether or not emergency responders must be notified of an exposure.

NASEMSO Requests Public Comments on Timeline for EMS Education Agenda (09/23/09) NASEMSO has collaborated with EMS stakeholders to identify the broad steps needed to implement the EMS Education Agenda from a national perspective. Because implementation will require a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach by a variety of EMS stakeholders, a timeline document has been created to illustrate the complexities of implementing the Education Agenda. It represents several milestones for implementation and identifies EMS stakeholders that have expressed an interest in participating in a range of implementation activities with a time-oriented goal for achieving them. The chart does not represent an exclusive list and additional objectives will be added as they are identified.  Individual states retain the authority to determine their level of participation.
NASEMSO is seeking your input regarding the Timeline DRAFT Document.
Please respond by taking the Online Survey no later than Oct. 9, 2009.

CDC to Release "Access to Trauma Centers in the United States" Mapping Tool and Fact Sheet

(09/20/09) The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on Sept. 21 released its "Access to Trauma Centers in the United States" mapping tool and fact sheet on its Web site at www.cdc.gov/TraumaCare. The new mapping tool, created in partnership with the American Trauma Society and the University of Pennsylvania, shows the location of all hospitals and trauma centers (Levels I-IV) across the country. Individuals can click on the map and find the distance to and locations of trauma centers and hospitals closest to them. The mapping tool also can be saved and placed on any Web page. A press conference about the new mapping tool took place during the NASEMSO 2009 Annual meeting, Sept. 21, 2009, in Little Rock, Arkansas. The media event was sponsored jointly by NASEMSO, CDC, and the Arkansas Department of Health.

 


NASEMSO President Steve Blessing addressed the media from Little Rock, Arkansas, during the 2009 NASEMSO Annual Meeting. Blessing was a featured speaker during the Sept. 21 CDC rollout of the "Access to Trauma Care" Web site and fact sheet.

GSA to Allow Local, State, Territorial and Tribal Governments Access to Federal Supply Schedules in Response to Public Health Emergencies (09/10/09) The U.G. General Services Administration has issued notice that effective Aug. 17, 2009, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments may access Federal Supply Schedules as authorized users for goods and services when expending federal grant funds in response to Public Health Emergencies (PHE) declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Services Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 247d.

CMS Announces EMTALA Requirements and Options for Hospitals During a Pandemic (09/05/09) In anticipation of a possible significant increase in demand for emergency services due to H1N1 influenza resurgence this fall several federal agencies, state health departments, and hospitals have expressed significant concerns about compliance with EMTALA requirements during an outbreak. Many stakeholders perceive that EMTALA imposes significant restrictions on hospitals’ ability to provide adequate care when EDs experience extraordinary surges in demand. A new fact sheet available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services clarifies options that are permissible under EMTALA and should reassure the provider community and public health officials that there is existing flexibility under EMTALA. Among other things, the fact sheet notes that an EMTALA-mandated medical screening examination (MSE) does not need to be an extensive work-up in every case, and that the MSE may take place outside the ED, at other sites on the hospital’s campus. 
Download the fact sheet, which also summarizes the provisions governing EMTALA waivers.
Key Points for EMS Regarding the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (09/14/09)

NTSB to Hold Public Meeting on EMS Helicopter Safety Recommendations (08/27/09) The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a public board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, at 9:30 a.m., in its Board Room and Conference Center, 429 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, DC. The agenda includes the NTSB proposal on 19 recommendations regarding Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS). These recommendations address various safety issues, including pilot training; safety management systems to minimize risk; collection and analysis of flight, weather, and safety data; flight data monitoring; development of a low altitude airspace infrastructure; and the use of dual pilots, autopilots, and night vision imaging systems (NVIS). A live and archived webcast of the proceedings will be available on the Board's website. Support details are available under "Board Meetings." To report any problems, please call 703-993-3100 and ask for Webcast Technical Support.
Washington Post Series preceding NTSB announcement
News articles on NTSB recommendations:
Washington Post | CBS News | AP | UPI
Wall Street Journal | AVWeb

FICEMS Adopts Position on National Health Security Strategy (07/17/09) The Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS) at its June meeting adopted a position on the National Health Security Strategy (NHSS). In a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, the position was stated as follows: "It is the intent of FICEMS that EMS systems be fully integrated and coordinated with public health systems to address challenges to national publc health security. Federal funds may be used to support EMS activities and target capabilities, such as the Emergency Care Enterprise, which implement the priorities of the NHSS." read FICEMS letter to Secretary Sibelius

Administration Notifies Congress of Intent to Spend $1.825 Billion out of $5.8 Billion Contingency for H1N1 (07/17/09) In a letter to Congress about the Adminsitration's intent to spend $1,825 billion of the $5.8 billion contingency funds approved for H1N1, President Barack Obama stated, "To enhance our nation's capability to respond to the potential spread of this outbreak, and in accordance with the appropriation, I hereby designate $1.825 billion of the contingent appropriation as emergency funds required to address critical needs related to emerging influenza viruses (specifically, the virus known as 2009-H1N1). These funds will support additional procurement of adjuvant for dose-sparing of vaccine antigen; immunization campaign planning; regulatory activities for H1N1 at the Food and Drug Administration; and funding for the administration of an injury compensation program." An ASHTO announcement noted that "$335 million of the additional funds will be for state, local and CDC planning for a national vaccination program. The $335 million is on top of the $350 million already appropriated." read White House letter

Implementation of the EMS Education Agenda: 2009 National EMS Education Standards Gap Analysis Template Now Available (07/17/09) NASEMSO announces the availability of a new document intended to support national implementation of the EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach (Education Agenda). Developed to support State implementation activities, the 2009 National EMS Education Standards Gap Analysis Template describes key transition elements and provides greater understanding about the differences between the National Standard Curricula and the recently published EMS Education Standards. The 2009 National EMS Education Standards Gap Analysis Template is intended for use by States, educators and others as they begin to define the specifics of what will be different at the state and local level between current EMS education delivery and future EMS education delivery. press release with details

HHS Releases Guidance on Public Health Emergency Response Funding (07/16/09) The Dept. of Health & Human Services has released grant guidance for $350 million in grants to help states and territories prepare for the 2009 novel H1N1 flu virus and the fall flu season. Public Health Emergency Response grants help state public health departments perform a variety of functions, including preparing for potential vaccination campaigns, implementing strategies to reduce people’s exposure to the 2009 novel H1N1 flu and improving influenza surveillance and investigations. grant guidance | fast facts

NENA, NASNA and 9-1-1 Industry Alliance Issue Joint Policy Statement Opposing State Raiding of 9-1-1 Funds (07/07/09) The National Emergency Number Association (NENA), National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA) and 9-1-1 Industry Alliance (9IA) have issued a join policy statement opposing state raiding of 9-1-1 funds. According to the statement, misuse of 9-1-1 funds not only puts one of the nation’s most critical systems at risk; it also breaks the trust established with the public. NENA, NASNA, and 9IA are strongly urging state and local governments to refrain from diverting 9-1-1 funding for unintended and unauthorized purposes. Read full policy statement.

Wording for Broselow Tape Error (06/30/09) Please be advised that there is a "typo" error on the Broselow Tape 2007 Edition A on the non-color coded side only. The error states that the glucagon dosage for children  3-4-5 kg thru white zones should be 0.5mg/kg/dose; for children that fall within the blue through green zones, the error states that the dosage should be 1 mg/kg/dose with maximum dose of 1 mg. The kg/dose should be blacked out for both of these glucagon dosages. The dosages for glucagon should read: Glucagon  0.5 mg (3-4-5 kg thru white zones) and 1 mg (blue thru green zones) (max. dose 1 mg). Please read this newsletter article from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, posted with their permission. 

NASEMSO To Review Draft IEMTG Standards for Delivery of Medical Services on Incidents Managed by NWCG Member Agencies (06/09/09) Draft recommended standards have been developed by the Incident Emergency Medical Task Group (IEMTG) for the delivery of medical services on incidents managed by National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) member agencies. Download draft standards here. These incidents are most commonly wildland fires of sufficient size and manpower deployment to warrant one or more "medical units" to be established. These medical units are manned by EMS personnel who are often from multiple states of origin. These draft standards are being presented to the state EMS officials through NASEMSO, and active review by state EMS directors, state EMS training coordinators, state EMS licensing managers, and state EMS medical directors is critical. The overall IEMTG plan for standardization and legal recognition can be viewed here. NASEMSO members are asked to submit your comments on the draft standards via e-mail to Tawni Newton either individually or as a state no later than July 15, 2009. After review of comments and revision, the document will formally be presented at the NASEMSO 2009 Annual Meeting.

NEMSAC Statement Lists Principles That Must Be Included in Any Health Care Reform Discussion (06/09/09) The National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) issued a position statement that lists the guiding principles that it states must be included in any health care reform discussion. The statement affirms the NEMSAC position that "an accountable and sustained community level emergency medical care system is essential and must be assured in debate and implementation of health care reform. EMS is the practice of medicine at the community level and a window to a community’s health status, including social care and stability. The emergency care system is a twenty four hours per day, seven days per week front door to the health care system and faces unique challenges in the urban, rural and frontier areas of our country. NEMSAC believes that these key guiding principles must be included in the health care reform discussion."
position statement

Ryan White Notification Language Passed by Senate Committee (06/7/09) On May 20, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee passed S. 599, the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act of 2009. The bill establishes a presumptive disability for heart and lung disease and cancer for federal firefighters. The bill included an amendment by Senator Tom Coburn that would reinstate the personnel notification provisions of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-381); these provisions were removed in the 2006 reauthorization. NASEMSO, NAEMT, and Advocates for EMS in partnership with our colleagues in the fire service worked to get this language inserted and is pleased the original language was added to the overall bill. Senator Coburn hails from the home state (Oklahoma) of NASEMSO President-elect, Shawn Rogers.
     Part E, Subpart II of the law, "Notification of Possible Exposure to Infectious Diseases, Section 2681-2690," requires emergency-response employers (i.e., fire departments, police departments, EMS) to have a designated officer for infection or exposure control to respond to requests from employees regarding exposures to communicable diseases and to obtain the disease status of the source patients in those exposures from the medical facility providing treatment to that patient.

Respiratory Hygiene/Cough Etiquette in Healthcare Settings (04/27/09) To prevent the transmission of all respiratory infections in healthcare settings, including influenza, the following infection control measures should be implemented at the first point of contact with a potentially infected person. They should be incorporated into infection control practices as one component of standard precautions. details here

U.S. District Court Dismisses Eagle Air Lawsuit Against Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (03/13/09) The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on Mar. 12 dismissed Eagle Air Med Corporation's (Eagle Air) lawsuit against officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on grounds that Eagle Air's claims were moot.
      Eagle Air filed the lawsuit in March 2008 when CDPHE began a licensing investigation after learning that Eagle Air had received notification that the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Services (CAMTS) intended to withdraw Eagle Air's CAMTS accreditation, which is required for Colorado licensure. Eagle Air sought a declaratory judgment from the Court that the Colorado law and rules that govern the licensure of air ambulances have been preempted by the Federal Aviation Act and the Airline Deregulation Act.
     During briefing on the case, Eagle Air and CAMTS entered into an consent agreement that allowed Eagle Air to retain its CAMTS accreditation.  As a result of this agreement, the CDPHE closed its investigation of Eagle Air with no adverse action taken.  The CDPHE subsequently filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that since the CDPHE closed its investigation, there was no pending threat to Eagle Air's license.  The Court agreed and dismissed the case.  
      Although this decision does bring the case to a close for now, it is unknown whether an appeal will be filed or other action will take place.  This decision does, for the time being, leave intact the existing requirements in Colorado statute and rules regarding the licensing of air ambulance services.   Understanding that the safeguarding of the public's health, safety and welfare is our prime concern, we are quite pleased that this process has resulted in Colorado's authority to maintain quality standards for air ambulance licensing.
If there are any questions regarding this issue, please contact Ms. Michelle Reese, J.D., our Deputy EMTS Section Chief at michelle.reese@state.co.us.

Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Release Report: "Shortchanging America's Health" (03/11/09) Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today released a new report that found midwestern and southern states received less funding from the federal government than northeastern and western states did in fiscal year 2008 for disease prevention programs, which can amount to millions of dollars in differences. Shortchanging America’s Health: A State-By-State Look at How Federal Public Health Dollars are Spent also examines how the economic downturn could lead to serious cuts to disease prevention and emergency preparedness programs at the state level. The report found that states receive $17.60 per person on average from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to spend on public health. midwestern states received an average of $17.69 per person and southern states received $18.43 per person, while northeastern states received $22.49 and western states received $23.94 per person from the CDC. report summary | download full report

NASEMSO Program Advisor Kevin McGinnis Was Guest Speaker for EMForum.org Web Event (03/11/09) EMForum.org hosted a one-hour presentation and interactive discussion Mar. 11, 2009 on "The Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST): Creating a Nationwide Wireless Broadband Network for Public Safety." The guest speaker was NASEMSO Program Advisor Kevin McGinnis, MPS, EMT-P, Vice Chair of the PSST, specializing in communications systems technology, data systems and rural EMS. In addition to the PSST, McGinnis is Vice-Chair of the Dept. of Homeland Security's SAFECOM Executive Committee and Vice-Chair of the DHS e-Gov Disaster Management (Data Communications) Practitioner Steering Group. A practicing paramedic, he has been involved with the delivery of emergency medical services since 1974 and is an expert in evaluating local, regional and state EMS systems and ambulance services. Find out more about EMForum.org and listen to the live meeting recording of the Mar. 11 event.

IOM to Offer Follow-up Workshop to Future of Emergency Care Series (02/14/09) In 2006, the Institute of Medicine released a series of three reports on the Future of Emergency Care in the United States Health System. An upcoming workshop provides an opportunity to examine the progress that has been made since that time in moving the nation towards the IOM’s vision of a “regionalized, coordinated, and accountable” emergency care system. One of the central recommendations contained in the IOM reports encouraged the federal government to more effectively coordinate emergency care-related activities that are widely dispersed through various federal departments and agencies. Now, three years later, structures are being put in place to address this challenge. This workshop is being convened to bring stakeholders and policymakers together to discuss which of the many challenges facing emergency care are most amenable to coordinated federal action. The National Emergency Care Enterprise workshop will be held on May 21-22, 2009 in Washington, DC. For more information including registration information, click here.

NASEMSO Executive Director Meets With DHS Regarding Concerns About EMS Funding and Other Issues (02/03/09) NASEMSO Executive Director Beth Armstrong, MAM, CAE, on Feb. 2 met with staff of the DHS Office of Intergovernmental Programs to review DHS interaction with state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT) partners. The discussion addressed NASEMSO’s concern about homeland security funding for EMS, the federal ambulance contract and national disaster credentialing. See details about NASEMSO key homeland security areas of concern and an NASEMSO issue briefing on Activation and Reimbursement Concerns for EMS Disaster Response

IOM Hosts Regional Forums on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events (02/03/09) The Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events will host a series of regional workshops on “Standards of Care”. These workshops will take place in Irvine, CA (March 12th); Orlando, FL (April 14th); New York, NY (April 27th); and Chicago, IL (May 8th). The purpose of this workshop series is to illuminate the progress and successes of efforts underway to establish local, state, and regional standards of care protocols. In addition, the planning committee is hoping the workshops will help to improve regional efforts by facilitating a dialog and coordination between neighboring jurisdictions. Attendance at these workshops is free but registration is required. For more information and to register for a workshop, please visitworkshops is free but registration is required. Click here for more information and to register for a workshop.

CDC Sets Up Database on Recalled Peanut Butter-Containing Products (01/23/09) The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention continues to collaborate with public health officials in many states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate a multistate outbreak of human infections due to Salmonella serotype Typhimurium. As of 9:00 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009, the case count is 488 in 43 states and one case in Canada. In order to make it easier for consumers to determine whether any of the peanut butter-containing products they have at home are subject to recall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created and posted an expanded, searchable database that will be updated as new information becomes available. For information on products containing peanut butter from companies not reporting recalls, consumers may wish to consult the company's Web site or call the toll-free number listed on most packaging. Please note that information consumers may receive from the companies has not been verified by FDA. Information about recalled products and Salmonella can be found by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO. A podcast on the outbreak, response, and consumer information can be downloaded here from CDC's Web site.

CDC Publishes Guidelines for Field Triage of Injured Patients (01/22/09) The Centers for Disaster Control & Prevention has released its "Guidelines for Field Triage of the Injured Patients, Recommendations of the National Expert Panel on Field Triage” (MMWR Recommendations and Reports). In the United States, injury is the leading cause of death for persons aged 1-44 years, and the approximately 800,000 emergency medical services (EMS) providers have a substantial impact on care of injured persons and on public health. At an injury scene, EMS providers determine the severity of injury, initiate medical management, and identify the most appropriate facility to which to transport the patient through a process called “field triage.” In 1987, the American College of Surgeons developed the Field Triage Decision Scheme (Decision Scheme), which serves as the basis for triage protocols for state and local EMS systems across the United States. Since its initial publication in 1987, the Decision Scheme has been revised four times. Learn more and download the report here.

USDOT Publishes White Paper to Inform Public Agencies About Investment Opportunities for Stimulus Package (01/19/09) A a white paper has been released by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to inform public agencies about investment opportunities for the stimulus package. The paper contains information about types of projects that support the operation of the transportation system, such as intelligent transportation systems (ITS). It is an informational paper and does not reflect a policy position. The three sections of the white paper are:

HHS Releases Report on the State of U.S. Preparedness for Influenza Pandemic (01/16/09) U.S. states and territories have made progress toward planning for an influenza pandemic, but major gaps remain, according to "Assessment of States' Operating Plans to Combat Pandemic Influenza," a federal report released today by the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS). State operating plans scored best in protecting citizens. The plans showed no or few major gaps in addressing mass vaccination operations during each phase of pandemic, ensuring surveillance and laboratory capability during each phase of a pandemic, in acquiring and distributing medical countermeasures and in ensuring communication capability. All state plans did not address or showed major gaps sustaining operations of state agencies, and supporting and protecting state government workers so that the state government could continue to function during an influenza pandemic. read report

NHTSA Announces NEMSAC Public Meeting on EMS Recommendations (01/12/09) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a public meeting of the National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC) for Jan. 29, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Jan. 30, 2009, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Marriott Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia. The purpose of NEMSAC is to provide a nationally recognized council of EMS representatives and consumers to provide advice and recommendations regarding Emergency Medical Services to NHTSA. Written comments and requests to make oral presentations are due Jan. 22, 2009. See attached Federal Register notice for complete details.

NASEMSO Mourns Trauma Colleague Killed in Iraq (01/01/09) NASEMSO mourns the tragic loss of Dr. John Pryor, EMS colleague and trauma director at the University of Pennsylvania, who died Christmas Day when a mortar round hit near his living quarters while serving as a trauma surgeon in the United States Army Reserve Medical Corps., 1st Forward Surgical Team (FST) in Iraq. Dr. Pryor joined the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps. after the attacks of 9/11 and served two active duty tours as the trauma surgeon for the 344th Combat Support Hospital in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, during 2006, and then with the 1st FST in 2008. Pryor's colleagues said they were devastated by the loss of the married father of three young children. The Fund for Dr. John Pryor has been established to help his wife Carmela and their 3 small children. Donations can be made as follows:UPHS- Dr. John Pryor Fund, Suite 750, 3535 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309. More information is available at www.drjohnpryor.com.