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NASEMSO News Archive 2008

2008 Annual Report

Funeral Arrangements Announced for Delaware City EMT (12/24/08) NASEMSO is deeply saddened by the tragic circumstances surrounding the line of duty death of Delaware City (DE) EMT Michelle L. Smith, 29, who was struck by a hit-and-run driver while providing emergency care to the critically injured victim of a motorcycle crash on Dec. 20.
      Delaware’s State EMS Director and NASEMSO President Steve Blessing hailed Smith as a “hero and committed public servant, who unselfishly gave her life serving others. Delaware’s EMS community is devastated by this terrible and untimely loss.”
      Michelle, who would have turned 30 next week, is survived by her 12-year-old daughter.  Funeral services will be held in Delaware City on Jan. 5, 2009, followed by a full honor guard and procession. A trust fund has been established by the Delaware City Fire Company for Emily Burge. Read the DCFC Press Release here or visit http://www.dcfc15.com/ for additional information. The alleged driver has been arrested and charged with first degree murder, assault, driving on a revoked license, leaving the scene of a crash and failure to report a crash. He is being held without bail.

DHS Announces Revised National Incident Management System (12/22/08) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today released a revised National Incident Management System (NIMS)—the national standard for incident management. NIMS establishes standardized incident management processes, protocols, and procedures that all federal, state, tribal and local responders will use to coordinate and conduct response actions.
     NIMS expands on the original version released in March 2004 by clarifying existing NIMS concepts, better incorporating preparedness and planning and improving the overall readability of the document. The revised document also differentiates between the purposes of NIMS and the National Response Framework (NRF) by identifying how NIMS provides the action template for the management of incidents, while the NRF provides the policy structure and mechanisms for national-level policy for incident management.

NTSB Calls on States to Continue Adopting "Most Wanted" Items (12/15/08) In a recent press conference, the National Transportation Safety Board said that although there were some modest gains in the past year on several of its "Most Wanted" safety improvements directed at state governments, much more needs to be accomplished before any of the items can be removed from the list. NTSB members reviewed the past year’s progress in getting states to enact safety legislation and updated the public on the status of the state portion of the NTSB’s "Most Wanted List." The NTSB cites four states that have adopted more elements on the "Most Wanted List" than any others – New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington. Read a summary of the board’s findings here. Maps and tables providing state-by-state details for each of the recommendations can also be found on the Board’s Web site.

Report Finds Economic Crisis Is Hurting U.S. Preparedness for Health Emergencies (12/09/08) Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) have released the sixth annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, which finds that progress made to better protect the country from disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism is now at risk, due to budget cuts and the economic crisis. In addition, the report concludes that major gaps remain in many critical areas of preparedness, including surge capacity, rapid disease detection, and food safety. In addition to assessing state and federal progress on indicators of emergency preparedness, the report offers specific recommendations to Congress, including restoring funding for health emergency preparedness, incorporating preparedness into healthcare reform, and enhancing research and development of technology and countermeasures. news release | report

TRB Releases Presentations from Ambulance Safety Summit (11/14/08) The EMS Transportation Safety Subcommittee of the National Academies Transportation Research Board (TRB) in conjunction with the National Ambulance Transportation Safety Task Force held an inaugural Ambulance Transport Safety Summit in Washington, DC, on Nov. 7, 2008 at the National Academies Keck Center. The event was chaired by Dr. Nadine Levick (Chair of the EMS Transport Safety Subcommittee of the National Academies TRB), along with Mr. Rick Pain from the National Academies TRB. The goal of summit was to review and discuss transportation safety and the need for technical data so that EMS operations can make strides in providing quality patient care and safe transport. An archived broadcast of the Summit is expected to become available on the National Academies web site in the near future. Related documents are available below:

U.S. District Court Reaches Decision in Eagle Air Case (11/03/08) In a civil case between Eagle Air Med Corporation and the state of Colorado, the U.S. District Court has ruled in favor of the state. According to court documents, Eagle Air maintained that the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (the “ADA”) prohibits states from enacting or enforcing laws or regulations that relate to the prices, routes, or services of FAA certified air carriers. In particular, Eagle Air challenged the statutory and regulatory requirements that entities seeking to provide air ambulance services in Colorado must acquire and maintain--specifically accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS), whose standards they claim primarily address aviation safety issues. Download the case decision here. State directors may contact CO State EMS Director Randy Kuykendall with related questions.

HRSA Releases 2008 EMSC State Partnership New & Competing Continuation Program Grant Guidance (10/03/08) The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services on Oct. 3 released the 2008 EMSC State Partnership New & Competing Continuation Program Grant Guidance. State Partnership grants are intended to solidify the integration of a pediatric focus within the state emergency medical servies (EMS) system. The involvement of the State Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program and the State Highway Traffic Safety Office is strongly encouraged, because of the importance of linking EMSC activities with the system of care for children. Partnership grants will fund activities that improve, refine and institutionalize EMSC in a State. All applicants must address all core program requirements listed within the grant guidance. Applicants should also demonstrate that their activities promote family-centered and culturally competent care. Details & Guidance

NASEMSO Members Asked to Provide Guidelines on Safer Handoff of Older Adult Patients (09/30/08) The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is interested in obtaining a copy of your emergency department (ED) universal handoff/transfer/transition Form used when an older patient is transferred from or to the ED to or from a long-term care facility. ENA, in collaboration with key stakeholders, is in the process of developing universal recommended guidelines for the safer handoff of older adult patients between long-term care facilities and emergency departments. The universal guidelines will be a compilation of evidence-based practices or identified “best practices” as surveyed among key stakeholders in the United States and Canada. The universal guidelines will emphasize communications between health care professionals at each phase of the transfer process. The ultimate goal is to address patient safety measures that improve the continuum of care for older adult patients. Please send an electronic version of your form to Karen Halupke by Oct. 10, 2008, as she will be compiling NASEMSO member contributions.

FEMA Awards $17.6 Million in Equipment and Training to Smaller U.S. Emergency Response Agencies (09/26/08) The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Sept. 26 announced the award of equipment and training worth $17.6 million to 1,045 emergency response agencies in 46 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico under the Fiscal Yyear 2008 Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP). Since the program’s inception in 2005, DHS has provided roughly 6,800 CEDAP awards worth more than $120 million to support all hazards response capabilities in smaller jurisdictions around the country.
press release | details about CEDAP

DHS Releases Revised 2008 National Strategic Plan (09/16/08) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its second Strategic Plan, based on the overarching direction stated in the National Strategy for Homeland Security. With it, DHS builds on the progress made and defines the successes it seeks to achieve in the future. The 2008 Strategic Plan serves to focus the department’s mission and sharpen operational effectiveness, particularly in delivering services in support of department-wide initiatives and other mission goals. DHS uses performance measures at all levels to monitor its strategic progress and program success. This process also keeps DHS’s priorities aligned, linking programs and operations to performance measures, mission goals, resource priorities, and strategic objectives. Download the 2008 Strategic Plan (updated 09/16/08)

Cancellation of NEMSIS Software Developers Meeting (09/02/08) The NEMSIS Software Developers Meeting set for Sept. 6 has been cancelled due to what will become Hurricane Hanna and its anticipated landfall in eastern Florida this weekendEven though the center of the storm may not pass directly over Clearwater, Florida, it is a large storm and its path is not completely predictable. This storm will definitely impact air travel in this area over the weekend. The NEMSIS Technical Assistance Center will not be traveling to Florida for this conference and will be in touch with those who were registered to work out a plan to refund the registration fee. You may also contact the NEMSIS TAC at (801) 585-1631.
Please understand that the EMS Summit Conference, scheduled for Sept. 4-5 has not been cancelled. If you have questions about this conference, this link can provide you with contact information: http://www.emlrc.org/summit2008.htm The NEMSIS Software Developers meeting to discuss and address the NEMSIS Version 3 dataset revision will be rescheduled sometime in the next 6 months.

FICEMS Endorses Position that All Emergency Medical Services Should Be Provided under Medical Direction (08/27/08) At its last meeting, the Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS) approved language to be sent to all federal agencies that have any grant programs for which EMS is eligible, urging them to incorporate in such grant guidance a requirement for the applicant to be operating under medical direction. In his letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Jeffrey Runge, M.D., Chair of FICEMS, noted, "One of FICEMS' highest priorities is to assure effective medical oversight for every Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system, for both daily emergency medical services and for their response to catastrophic events. The FICEMS recognizes the importance of medical oversight in assuring the quality of EMS care, driving evidence-based practice guidelines, supporting EMS research and providing overall system medical accountability. Download Dr. Runge's letter.

NASEMSO and NPM Coalition Support 5th Annual National Preparedness Month (08/26/08) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign (www.ready.gov) is sponsoring the fifth annual National Preparedness Month (NPM) in September, with support from more than 2,700 NPM coalition members, the largest amount to date. NASEMSO is a member of the National Preparedness Month Coalition. NPM coalition members, consisting of national, regional, state and local organizations, will combine efforts throughout the month of September to encourage all Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies before they happen. press release

National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services Releases 2008 Report (08/22/08) HRSA and the Office of Rural Health Policy have announced the release of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services' 2008 Report to the Secretary. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Committee, this report includes a 20-year retrospective consideration of rural health and human services, highlights key issues for rural health care delivery, human services, and community development, and makes recommendations to the Secretary. Download the report here .

NHTSA Publishes Update on Education Agenda Implementation (08/22/08) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of EMS has developed and revised educational materials and resources for EMS personnel, programs and systems for more than 40 years. The recent release of theNational EMS Education Agenda for the Future: A Systems Approach will enable NHTSA, its federal partners and the national EMS community to collaborate, systematize and improve the future EMS education process. Click here to obtain an Aug. 21 update on the Education Agenda implementation, as well as links to the National Standard Curricula; Education Agenda for the Future; National EMS Core Content; National Scope of Practice Model; Education Standards; and National Registration and the Continuing Competence of EMT-Paramedics.

CDC Issues Call for Papers on Model Communities (08/19/08) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through its Terrorism Injuries: Information Dissemination and Exchange (TIIDE) Project, is examining the relationship between the emergency care community and public health in relation to preparedness for mass casualty incidents. The emergency care community is composed of emergency medical services, emergency departments, trauma centers, and acute care hospitals. The CDC TIIDE Project is seeking examples of “model communities” in which the relationship between the emergency care community and public health is well-established and operationally functional in terms of its capacity to respond to events that might produce large numbers of injuries. Download Call for Model Communities 2008. Deadline: Sept. 15, 2008.

Advocates for EMS Work Toward Reinstatement of Ryan White Provisions (08/14/08) When the Ryan White provisions designed to protect emergency responders following a body fluid exposure were inadvertently repealed last year, Advocates for EMS convened a group of national EMS and fire organizations to help resolve the issue. Following several conversations with representatives from NIOSH and the CDC, Advocates is now meeting with relevant Congressional staff during the August recess to help reinstate the provisions.  NASEMSO members who learn of statewide activities to enforce the repeal are asked to contact NASEMSO Program Advisor, Kathy Robinson for follow-up by the Government Affairs Committee. Download the Quick Reference Comparison of the Ryan White Notification Law and OSHA, courtesy of EMS Magazine and EMSResponder.com.

State Issues Warning on Ambulance Stretchers (08/14/08) Ferno-Washington Inc. has released a "Notice of Investigation" in response to a number of problems reported by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of EMS for the Ferno PROFlexx Model 35-X with serial numbers between 06 002156 and 07 054091 manufactured between Jan. 17, 2006 and Aug. 16, 2007. Massachusetts OEMS has instructed all ambulance services using the stretcher to immediately inspect them for signs of metal fatigue (shavings, bent support arms, cracks, etc.). Ambulance services have been encouraged to remove any stretcher showing signs of metal fatigue from service immediately and to have all Ferno PROFlexx Model 35-X stretchers inspected by a factory authorized representative as soon as possible. The notice does not affect Ferno’s current production line. Ambulance services that experience an equipment failure are reminded to file a “Medical Devices Report” report with the FDA. Ferno notice | Massachusetts notice

U.S. District Court Reaches Decision in Eagle Air Case (08/13/08) In a civil case between Eagle Air Med Corporation and the state of Colorado, the U.S. District Court has ruled in favor of the state. According to court documents, Eagle Air maintained that the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (the “ADA”) prohibits states from enacting or enforcing laws or regulations that relate to the prices, routes, or services of FAA certified air carriers. In particular, Eagle Air challenged the statutory and regulatory requirements that entities seeking to provide air ambulance services in Colorado must acquire and maintain--specifically accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS), whose standards they claim primarily address aviation safety issues. State directors may contact Colorado State EMS Director Randy Kuykendall at randy.kuykendall@state.co.us with related questions. The background of the case and decision is available for download here.

DHS Releases National Emergency Communication Plan (08/01/08) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on July 31 released the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) to address gaps and determine solutions so that emergency response personnel at all levels of government and across all disciplines can communicate as needed, on demand, and as authorized. The NECP is the nation's first strategic plan to improve emergency response communications, and complements overarching homeland security and emergency communications legislation, strategies and initiatives. press release | fact sheet | communications plan

EMS Workforce for the 21st Century Project Releases Draft EMS Workforce Agenda for the Future (07/22/08) The EMS Workforce for the 21st Century Project has released its current draft of the EMS Workforce Agenda for the Future. The draft will be posted soon for public comment at www.emsworkforce.com, along with instructions for submitting comments. The comment period will be July 24 through Aug. 22, 2008. On Nov. 30, the final draft will be submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. draft document | stakeholders meeting summary

GAO Issues Report on Emergency Preparedness (07/14/08) The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued GAO Report 08-668, "Emergency Preparedness: States Are Planning for Medical Surge, but Could Benefit from Shared Guidance for Allocating Scarce Medical Resources." The report recommends that the Secretary of HHS ensure that the department serve as a clearinghouse for sharing among the states altered standards of care guidelines developed by individual states or medical experts. HHS was silent on GAO’s recommendation. HHS and the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Veterans Affairs concurred with GAO’s findings. summary | highlights | full report

ASTHO Releases Pandemic Flu Planning Guidance for At-Risk Populations (07/07/08) The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has announced the release of "At-Risk Populations and Pandemic Influenza: Planning Guidance for State, Territorial, Tribal, and Local Health Departments." This guidance is the product of nearly a year spent reviewing relevant publications and plans, assembling subject matter expert work groups, and convening public and stakeholder engagement meetings to provide key input during the drafting process. Under a cooperative agreement with CDC, ASTHO was asked to develop model guidance on the protection of at-risk populations in an influenza pandemic; it is ASTHO’s hope that the culmination of this important project will assist public health officials in their pandemic influenza planning efforts. details, document and toolkit

Minnesota EMS Regulatory Board Seeks Executive Director (07/06/08) The Minnesota EMS Regulatory Board has announced a job opening for Executive Director in Minneapolis, MN. This position is responsible for personnel and fiscal management, rule writing, legislative and health care policy development, public education, ambulance licensing, EMS personnel credentialing, complaint and disciplinary processes, ambulance volunteer longevity awards, and grants. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 25, 2008. Learn more.

DHS Is Underway with the Target Capability List Implementation Project (06/30/08) The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is underway with an initiative called the Target Capability List (TCL) Implementation Project. The project is the next step in the Nation's effort to develop, assess and strengthen prevention, protection, response and recovery capabilities. The initial phase of the project involves developing a series of target capability frameworks to help states and local jurisdictions determine whether they need a given capability to be prepared, and if so, at what level. Learn more.

CDC Issues 2008 Call for Model Communities (06/20/08) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Terrorism Injuries Information, Dissemination and Exchange (TIIDE) Project is seeking examples of “model communities” in which the relationship between the emergency care community and public health is well-established and operationally functional in terms of its capacity to respond to events that might produce large numbers of injuries. Responses are due by Sept. 15, 2008. Call for Model Communities | Facts about TIIDE

HHS Requests Comments on Pandemic Draft Guidelines (06/20/08) The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has released a long awaited set of three draft guidance documents. Comments are requested from the public and interested stakeholders on these three draft guidances: Interim Guidance on the Use and Purchase of Facemasks and Respirators by Individuals and Families for Pandemic Influenza Preparedness; Proposed Guidance on Antiviral Drug Use During an Influenza Pandemic; and Proposed Considerations for Antiviral Drug Stockpiling by Employers In Preparation for an Influenza Pandemic. The summary, Federal Register Notice, full text of the guidances and instructions for submitting comments can be found here. The deadline for comments is July 3, 2008.

NHTSA Publishes Assessment of National EMS Workforce (06/20/08) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) has published EMS Workforce for the 21st Century: A National Assessment. NHTSA, in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) Emergency Medical Services for Children program, entered into an agreement with the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) to undertake this project. The assessment describes the national EMS workforce and the absence of consistent, nationwide EMS workforce data. It will be paramount in guiding future strategies aimed at assuring the stability of the EMS workforce and in designing national EMS workforce data system improvements. Information on this ongoing project is available at www.emsworkforce.com.

700 MHz National Public Safety Broadband Communications Network
By Kevin McGinnis, NASEMSO Program Advisor (05/20/08)

In a Nutshell…
There has been considerable recent media attention about a process at the FCC to provide public safety with access to a significant swath of bandwidth for broadband use in a unique Public/Private partnership arrangement.  Misinformation and speculation during the process led to an FCC inspector general’s investigation and two Congressional inquiries and the media attention.  While the former has been completed, has identified the misinformation and largely exonerated the process and those involved, the latter are still under way.  FCC Commissioners, key legislators, and the public safety interests involved remain optimistic that this Public/Private model will succeed in providing the next generation of interoperable communications for public safety nationwide.

NASEMSO is involved as being represented on the Board of Directors of the Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST), the non-profit group of public safety and other interests named by the FCC during this process as the “public” half of the Public/Private partnership.

The process to create this national public safety broadband network hit a roadblock when an auction for part of the spectrum (to be operated by the commercial, “private” half of the partnership) failed to produce a winning bid.  Between this failure and the media attention to other aspects of the process and participants, the road ahead is somewhat unclear.  On May 14, 2008, the FCC voted unanimously to release a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that is intended to pave the way for another auction and to get the process back on track.  The content below provides more detail on this process and the issues it has spun off.  Readers can also go to the PSST website (www.PSST.org) for further information.

Download the complete article by Kevin McGinnis here.

U.S. Dept. of Labor Invites Comments on Proposed Guidance on Workplace Stockpiling of Respirators/Facemasks for Pandemic Flu (05/16/08) The U.S. Department of Labor is inviting comments on its document entitled "Proposed Guidance on Workplace Stockpiling of Respirators and Facemasks for Pandemic Influenza." The proposed guidance and instructions on submitting written or electronic comments are available on OSHA's Web page and through its publications office here.

FEMA Is Accepting Comments on the Draft National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) Document (05/16/08) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is coordinating a final review of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) in conjunction with the recent release of the National Response Framework (NRF). FEMA is accepting comments on the NIMS document during one final national comment period (May 1- June 2, 2008). NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable Federal, state, tribal and local governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity. Comments must be received by June 2, 2008. The draft NIMS document is available online at www.regulations.gov, in Docket ID FEMA–2008–0008. All comment submissions received must include the agency name and docket ID (FEMA-2008-0008).

Gail J. McGovern Selected as President and CEO of the American Red Cross (04/09/08) Gail J. McGovern has been named President and CEO of the American Red Cross. She has held top management positions at AT&T Corporation and Fidelity Investments, has experience running large organizations in competitive industries, and has a track record for improving business performance and service delivery to the public. McGovern joined the faculty of the Harvard Business School in June 2002, where she teaches marketing in the MBA and Executive programs. She was recognized by Fortune magazine in 2000 and 2001 as one of the top 50 most powerful women in corporate America. press release

Dia Gainor Appointed First Chair of National EMS Advisory Council (04/08/08) Dia Gainor, Bureau Chief of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the State of Idaho and a Past President of NASEMSO, has been appointed the first chair of the 25-member National EMS Advisory Council (NEMSAC). She has been an active participant in many national-level EMS activities and is an expert in the field of quality improvement. Ms. Gainor is also well known for her work with the Intelligent Transportation Systems' Public Safety Advisory Group and with the Strategic Highway Safety Plan Peer Exchange. The purpose of NEMSAC is to provide advice and counsel to the Department of Transportation on national EMS initiatives, while offering a forum for the non-federal deliberation of national EMS issues.

NASEMSO Provides Issue Brief on Repeal of Emergency Responder Provisions in Ryan White Act (04/04/08) NASEMSO has responded to a national “Call for Action” on the repeal of the emergency responder provisions in the Ryan White Act by publishing an Issue Brief on the topic to inform its members of the concern. The provisions apply to situations where the Designated Infection Control Officer of an emergency response agency determines through investigation that an employee (including volunteers) was exposed to a patient’s blood or body fluids and provides a signed written request to the receiving hospital for notification of the patient’s infectious status. The provisions also provide for automatic notification of the emergency response employee if a transported patient was found to have infectious tuberculosis. Although the repeal has been in effect for nearly six months, NASEMSO is not aware that any hospital has begun refusing to provide exposure incident information to EMS providers through their Designated Infection Control Officer. Instead of waiting for federal intervention by Congress in this matter, some states have already begun addressing the issue by implementing their own state level regulatory requirements to protect emergency responders.  One benefit of the repeal is that states would no longer have to seek a federal waiver to impose state notification laws that was required by previous versions of the Ryan White Act. To access the brief, click here.

Dept. of Justice Provides Addendum to Recent Federal Guidance on Pan Flu (03/27/08) The U.S. Dept. of Justice has provided an addendum to the recently released guidance on state pandemic flu plans. The appendix and related documents are provided here for download:

Appendix B.15 (core of DOJ guidance).
Chapter 8 (Law Enforcement, Public Safety and Security), National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan.
Letter from the National Guard Bureau outlining procedures for obtaining support.
Letter to governors outlining procedures and requirements for obtaining support from U.S. military personnel.

New Guidelines for State Pandemic Planning (03/21/08) The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled a comprehensive pandemic influenza guidance document for states this week. Guidance materials outline three overarching strategic goals that states' plans should address: ensuring continuity of state government and agency operation, protecting citizens, and maintaining critical infrastructure and key assets. Several operating objectives are included in each goal. For example, for maintaining critical infrastructure, states are encouraged to build private-public partnerships and beef up protection and information sharing. Objectives for incorporating EMS and 9-1-1 into state planning activities are included as Appendices B-12 and B-13 and follow guidance documents coordinated by NASEMSO through a cooperative agreement with NHTSA in 2007. Download document.

NASEMSO Provides Access to CRS Funding Report to Congress (03/12/08) Under the provisions of the Conference Report (H. Rep. 109-699) accompanying the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) Fiscal Year 2007 Appropriations Act, (Pub. L. 109-295), DHS is directed to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States on the use of Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) and Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) funds for Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Page 157 of the Conference Report states: “The Conferees remain concerned with the lack of first responder grant funding being provided to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community and direct G&T to require in its grant guidance that State and local governments include EMS representatives in planning committees as an equal partner and to facilitate a nationwide EMS needs assessment. In addition, no later than January 23, 2007, the Department shall report to the Committees on Appropriations, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, on the use of Homeland Security Grant Program funds and Firefighter Assistance Grant funds for EMS.” This report, entitled “Support for the Emergency Medical Service Provided through the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Grants and Training,” is submitted in response to this paragraph of the Conference Report. NASEMSO has finally obtained a copy of the report and is making it available here. Download report.

NASEMSO Members Asked to Review Federal Guidance to Assist States in Improving State-Level PI Operating Plans & the Annex Resource Documents and to Participate in Mar. 13 Webcast (03/12/08) The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services has asked NASEMSO members to review and comment on the draft federal guidance to assist states in improving state-level pandemic influenza operating plans.

Also the agency is offering a Webcast Series on Pandemic Influenza. NASEMSO members are invited to join in for live discussions in the first of three web seminars ("webinars") on Mar. 13 to help state planners in the next round of pandemic influenza planning. The Federal government will issue guidance for the second round of State planning assessments. Assessments of the first round of plans showed improved progress but also underscored the need for better Federal guidance, as well as increased efforts by State-level agencies to fill the remaining gaps in preparedness.  This webcast will give an overview of the guidance and will provide an opportunity for a live question-and-answer session with representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Labor. 

How:  Email your questions for the webcast panelists during the program to hhsstudio@hhs.gov Please include your first name and hometown.

When:  March 13, 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET

Where:  http://www.pandemicflu.gov/news/panflu_webinar.html

Please join in for future webcasts on the state planning and assessment process on Apr. 2, 2008, and Apr. 30, 2008. More details will be available on www.pandemicflu.gov.

FEMA Releases FY 2008 National Incident Management System (NIMS) Compliance Package (03/10/08) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has posted the Fiscal Year 2008 NIMS compliance package. Meeting NIMS compliance objectives forms the basis for NIMS compliance determinations for states, territories, tribal nations and local government. NIMS compliance directly impacts elibility for Federal Preparedness Awards under Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSDP) 5, Managing Domestic Incidents. Posted are:

REAL ID Extensions Granted to States by DHS (03/08/08) In a recent press release, DHS has recognized that states cannot meet the full requirements of the REAL ID Act by May 11, 2008, so it will grant extensions for those states that request them up to Mar. 31, 2008. The extension is good through Dec. 31, 2009. In addition, states that meet certain benchmarks for the security of their credentials and licensing processes will automatically be granted a second extension until May 11, 2011, to complete full implementation of REAL ID. If an individual chooses to present a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for an official purpose as of May 11, 2008, that driver’s license or identification card must be issued by a state that is complying with the REAL ID Act. Those official purposes include: accessing a Federal facility, boarding federally-regulated commercial aircraft, and entering nuclear power plants. Any person presenting a driver's license or state identification card from a state with an approved extension will be able to use the document for official purposes. The deadline for a state to request an initial extension is Mar. 31, 2008. If a state chooses not to request an extension, its driver’s licenses and identification cards will no longer be acceptable for official purposes as of May 11, 2008. Individuals of these states can still present other forms of acceptable identification (government-issued photo ID, such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or government identification badge, is often acceptable) to board federally regulated commercial aircraft or access Federal facilities and nuclear power plants. Individuals who do not have other acceptable forms of identification (e.g., government-issued photo identification, such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or other government identification badge) may suffer delays at the airport due to the requirement for additional security screening. Funding is by far the biggest problem that state DMVs face. Real ID compliance is not cheap, with estimates currently at approximately $40 million per state and $38 billion across the United States. The lack of federal funding is perhaps the biggest reason why many states are considering not complying. Maine, South Carolina, Montana, Oklahoma and New Hampshire have indicated no intention to comply by various online news sources. Fifteen other states including, populous ones like Texas, Virginia, and Michigan and the District of Columbia, have not decided whether to comply or ask for an extension. Learn more about implementation of the REAL ID Act.

FCC Issues Public Advisory on U.S. Digital Television Transition (02/28/08) The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a public advisory on the digital television (DTV) transition, which refers to the switch from analog to digital television broadcasts. On Feb. 17, 2009, federal law requires that all full-power television broadcast stations stop broadcasting in analog format and broadcast only in digital format. Consumers who own a digital television, or who subscribe to pay television services (e.g. cable or satellite) should not be affected by the Feb. 17, 2009, cut-off date for full-power analog broadcasting. The FCC encourages consumers who subscribe to pay television services to contact their service provider to determine the impact of the DTV transition on their TV viewing and whether any additional components, such as a digital set-top box, may be needed to watch digital broadcast programming. Consumers who do not have subscription TV services and own analog televisions must acquire a digital-to-analog converter box for each of their analog TV sets. There is a public safety implication, since it is estimated that approximately 33.6 million, or 12 percent, of people in the United States watch television via an over-the-air signal only. For many individuals, the television is the primary source of news, weather, emergency and other public safety information in their local communities. Individuals who do not take the appropriate measures to ensure that their analog televisions are capable of receiving digital TV signals after Feb. 17, 2009 may be at risk of losing access to important public safety notifications. Download the FCC advisory here.

U.S. Senate Approves IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Bill (02/27/08) The U.S. Senate has approved S. 428, the IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act, the companion bill to HR3403, the 9-1-1 Modernization Act. According to the National Emergency Number Association, the primary effects of this bill are:

  • Requires VoIP companies to provide 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 in accordance with FCC rules.
  • Provides liability parity for PSAPs, providers and their vendors equivalent to wireless and wireline for all communications services that are required by the FCC to provide 9-1-1/E9-1-1 (today and in the future) as well as for services that voluntarily provide information to PSAPs, in the absence of an FCC requirement, with approval from the appropriate state or local 9-1-1 governing authority.
  • Confirms state authority to impose and collect 9-1-1 fees from VoIP and wireless providers and requires the FCC to report annually on the status of the imposition and collection of 9-1-1 fees in the states, including if fees are being used for purposes not provided for in the statute adopting the fee.
  • Requires National 9-1-1 Program Office to produce a report to Congress within 270 days on migration to NG9-1-1, with focus on needed legislative/regulatory changes.
  • Amends ENHANCE 9-1-1 Act to make PSAP grant funds available for Phase II wireless upgrades and also for the "migration to an IP-enabled emergency network."
  • Requires owners of E9-1-1 infrastructure to provide open access to VoIP providers for the completion of E9-1-1 service and authorizes FCC to delegate enforcement of this section to the states.

Webcast/Television Broadcast on National Response Framework (NRF) Set for Mar. 5, 2008 (02/27/08) The Dept. of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), following a lengthy period of input, an extended comment period, and formal approval by the President on Jan. 8, 2008, are now moving into the implementation phase of the National Response Framework (NRF). As one of the first steps in implementation, FEMA will be conducting a nationwide broadcast on the NRF on Mar. 5, 2008, 1:30–2:30 p.m. Eastern time from the studio of the National Preparedness Network (PREPnet) located at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, MD. Learn more.

NREMT Seeking Item Writers (02/25/08) The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) is seeking participation and involvement from EMS educators and medical directors in its 2008 NREMT Item Writing Committee meetings, as a crucial component in developing valid, reliable, psychometrically sound and legally defensible national EMS certification materials. Anyone interested in participating should submit a letter of interest and resume/CV to Gabe Romero at gromero@nremt.org or 614-888-4484 x129. Please identify the date(s) and level(s) of the meeting(s) in which you wish to participate. The 2008 NREMT Item Writing meetings to be held in Columbus, Ohio, are as follows:

  • Mar. 13-15: EMT                                        
  • Apr. 10-12: EMT
  • May 15-7: Paramedic
  • June 19-21: Paramedic
  • July 24-26: EMR
  • Aug. 7-9: EMR
  • Sept. 18-20: AEMT
  • Oct. 23-25: AEMT
  • Dec. 4-6: AEMT

Please provide NREMT with correct contact information so that they can confirm participation and forward item writing assignments and other related information. If assigned to a meeting, each item writer will be asked to draft and submit 20-30 multiple choice items (based on a list of tasks provided from the current NREMT Practice Analysis) about 2 weeks prior to the meeting date. The committee will then meet at the NREMT offices in Columbus, Ohio, to review all items prepared by the committee. Each 2½-day Item Writing Meeting is scheduled for Thursday and Friday (08:30–17:00 hours) and will conclude on Saturday (08:30–12:00 hours). All reasonable and customary travel expenses for participating in the item writing process are covered by the NREMT. Their travel agent will also work with you to arrange your flights.

U.S. Senate Approves IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Bill (02/27/08) The U.S. Senate has approved S. 428, the IP-Enabled Voice Communications and Public Safety Act, the companion bill to HR3403, the 9-1-1 Modernization Act. Learn about the primary effects of the bill.

Nominations Are Open for EMSC National Heroes Awards (02/24/08) The EMSC National Resource Center (NRC) is seeking nominations for the 2008 EMSC National Heroes Awards (NHA). The awards are presented to individuals who make an outstanding contribution to the EMSC program. Nominations are due April 4, 2008.
2008 NHA nomination form | NHA brochure

Specialty EMS License Plate Is in the Works for California (02/22/08) The Emergency Medical Services Authority is developing a specialty license plate to honor EMS professionals in California. Anyone who owns a car in California will be able to get the EMS License Plate. Creating a specialty plate will support and recognize healthcare professionals who work in the emergency setting. Learn more.

Call-in Info Now Available for EMSC Webcast on Interfacility Transfers (02/17/08) On Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 2:00 p.m. (EST), the EMSC National Resource Center will host a conference call to provide additional opportunities for EMSC grantees to ask questions about performance measures 66D and 66E. The measures were previously discussed during the February 13 webcast "When Minutes Count: Making Transfers Work for Critically Ill and Injured Children." The call-in number is 1-877-355-6338. Press 1 to enter the meeting: Enter Meeting ID 1395.

FLEX Grant Guidance Released (02/16/08) The Office of Rural Health Policy recently released grant guidance related to the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (MRHFP, referred to as the Flex Program.) The FLEX Program is an ideal mechanism for improving and sustaining access to appropriate healthcare services of high quality in rural
America, supporting conversion of small rural hospitals to critical access status, helping develop rural health care networks, and strengthening and integrating rural Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Not only is the FLEX Program an excellent funding opportunity for rural EMS programs, but most states are currently re-writing their State Rural Health Plans. This is an excellent opportunity to partner with the State Offices of Rural Health and others to assure the challenges and needs of rural EMS are integrated into the larger plan. Application deadline is Apr. 17, 2008. FLEX Program Grant Guidance. More details here.

FEMA: Moving the Vision Forward (02/07/08) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is building on the improvements of 2007 and lessons learned, so that they are better positioned to help the American people prepare for, mitigate against, respond to and recover from a natural or manmade disaster.   Download a summary of FEMA’s 2007 accomplishments. You can also visit the FEMA Web site for 2007 Quick Facts; a 2007 Flash slideshow and photo gallery of FEMA activities; 2007 Disaster Declaration Maps, which show declared disasters by region, type, state and total numbers of declared disasters; and Fact Sheets outlining accomplishments, improvements and future initiatives of FEMA Directorates.

EMSC Program Announces Targeted Issues Grant Competition (02/01/08) The Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Program has announced a targeted issues grant competition. The Targeted Issue Demonstration grants are intended to meet HRSA/MCHB priorities of improving the health infrastructure and systems of care as well as assuring quality of care. Applicants should address specific needs in the field of pediatric emergency care that transcend state boundaries. Typically, the projects result in a new product/resource or the demonstration of the effectiveness of a model system component or service of value to the nation. Objectives must meet a demonstrable need, and methodologies and strategies for achieving the objectives must be realistic, appropriate and scientifically sound. Each application must contain an evaluation plan that contains measurable outcomes and clearly defined time frames for conducting the evaluation. Application deadline is Mar. 17, 2008. Download grant guidance with complete details. FAQ Sheet on EMSC targeted issues grant competition. FAQ Sheet on EMSC Network Development Demonstration Project (NDDP) funding opportunity.

FEMA National Advisory Council to Advise FEMA Administrator (02/01/08) The FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC) is scheduled to meet on Feb. 12-13, 2008, in Washington, DC. The NAC shall advise the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on all aspects of emergency management. The NAC shall incorporate state, local and tribal government and private sector input in the development and revision of the National Preparedness Goal, the national preparedness system, the National Incident Management System, the National Response Plan, and other related plans and strategies. See attached Federal Register notice for more details.

NASEMSO Program Advisor Listed as Panelist in New Institute of Medicine Report (01/31/08) NASEMSO Program Advisor Leslee Stein-Spencer was an invited panelist toward the development of a new "Letter Report on Research Priorities for Emergency Preparedness and Response" just released by the IOM. In response to the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (Public Law 109–417, 2006), the CDC identified an immediate and critical need to define research priorities for the Centers for Public Health Preparedness (CPHP) at schools of public health. These priorities will be used to help develop a research agenda and inform research funding opportunity announcements that must be issued and filled, according to congressional mandate, during the 2008 fiscal year. Download report.

Center for Domestic Preparedness Offers All-Hazards Training (01/24/08) The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) is a federal training facility that currently hosts more than 35 different courses at no cost to state and local first responders, to include roundtrip airfare, lodging, meals, training and any equipment needed during the course of training. The CDP has trained more than 500,000 first responders since being established in 1998. The center offers a wide array of training courses to help prepare America’s first responders for a WMD or all-hazards response effort. Learn more.

Wall Street Journal Publishes NASEMSO President's Letter on Need for Innovative Approach to Solve Public Safety Communications Crisis (01/24/08) The Wall Street Journal has published a letter to the editor written by NASEMSO President Fergus Laughridge in which he noted, "We are now many years past the disasters of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and it remains painfully clear that without regulatory intervention, the marketplace, left to its own devices, will not solve our national public safety communications crisis. We need an innovative approach. The only way we can permanently solve this problem is by correctly aligning the interests of public safety with the commercial sector." The letter was published in the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 24, 2008. Read his letter here. See it on the Wall Street Journal Web site here.

National Response Framework Released by DHS (01/22/08) The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Jan. 22 released the National Response Framework (NRF), successor to the National Response Plan. The NRF, which focuses on response and short-term recovery, articulates the doctrine, principles and architecture by which the United States prepares for and responds to all-hazard disasters across all levels of government and all sectors of communities. The NRF is being released following an extensive process of outreach and coordination between DHS and key stakeholders representing federal, tribal, state and local governments, non-governmental agencies and associations, and the private sector. Download the NRF, the Emergency Support Function Annexes, and Support Annexes at the NRF Resource Center.

New NFPA Standards in Effect for Emergency Medical Protective Clothing (01/18/08) The 2008 NFPA Standards have been updated to include revisions that address emergency medical protective clothing. "Many of the changes to the Standard on Protective Clothing for Emergency Medical Operations were aimed at addressing requirements for clothing categories where there were no certified products being made available to the end user," noted Jeffrey O. Stull in an article on the FireRescue1 Web site. Stull noted that the 2003 standards "simply did not define products consistent with end user expectations." Read the article.

National EMS Advisory Committee Named (01/15/08) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Jan. 15 announced the appointment of 25 individuals to serve on the newly-established National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council (NEMSAC). The purpose of NEMSAC is to provide advice and counsel to the Department of Transportation on national Emergency Medical Services (EMS) initiatives, while offering a forum for the
non-Federal deliberation of national EMS issues. NASEMSO congratulates all appointees but especially Idaho State EMS Director, long time NASEMSO member and past president, Dia Gainor. Learn more.

Physician-Owned Specialty Hospitals Found Poorly Equipped to Handle Medical Emergencies (01/12/08) Most physician-owned specialty hospitals are poorly equipped to handle medical emergencies, underscoring a long-standing concern about their rapid proliferation. A report by the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services found that 55 percent of 109 physician-owned hospitals reviewed had emergency departments - and that the majority of those had only one bed, while fewer than a third of the hospitals had physicians on site at all times, and 34 percent relied on dialing 911 to get emergency medical assistance for patients in trouble, reported the Jan. 10 Washington Post. Moreover, seven percent of physician-owned hospitals failed to meet Medicare requirements that a registered nurse be on duty at all times and that at least one physician be on call if none are in the hospital, while 22 percent failed to address in their written policies how emergency cases should be evaluated and treated when they arise, the Post added. Read on...

NCSL Publishes Report on EMS in Rural America (01/05/08) The National Conference of State Legislatures has published a report on "EMS in Rural America" that summarizes its 2007 conference to inform policymakers about the challenges facing emergency medical service providers in rural America. The report covers challenges to the rural EMS system and strategies for improvement. Download report.

EMSC Program to Offer New Funding Opportunities (01/04/08) The EMSC Program anticipates releasing the following funding opportunities on or about Jan. 16, 2008, with both applications will be due 60 days from the date of issue. Check for publication on www.grants.gov, searching by CFDA number 93.127:

  • New Targeted Issues Grants: The program anticipates funding 4-5 grants at $250,000 total costs per year for 3 years. If the proposed project requires IRB review, the applicant must include a letter from the IRB stating, at a minimum, that contact has been made by the applicant and information has been received by the IRB regarding the proposed project.
  • Network Development Demonstration Project (NDDP): Applications for 4 grants will be accepted to form the infrastructure for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). Funding is anticipated for $860,000 total costs per year for 3 years.

Contact the EMSC National Resource Center (NRC) for assistance with any of these funding opportunities. The NRC can assist investigators with concept development, review drafts of the abstract or narrative, assist with IRB submissions, and provide support with budget development. You may contact the NRC by e-mailing Tasmeen Singh at tsingh@cnmc.org.

Park Services Publishes First Responder Field Manual (01/03/08) The National Park Service's latest product, “First Responder Field Manual: Procedures, Protocols and Drugs,” a 110-page document, is available for download here. The “NPS EMS-BLS/ALS and ACLS Field Manual” will be published in September 2008.

NASEMSO Members Asked to Comment on Model Plan Draft (01/02/08) NASEMSO members are asked to provide comments on the latest draft of the State EMS Systems Model Plan document. Please e-mail feedback to Kevin McGinnis, NASEMSO Program Advisor.