Hatch, Casey bill reauthorizing emergency medical services for children passes Senate

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey announced Friday that their bill to reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children program has passed the Senate.

The legislation has made great strides to make sure that the entire spectrum of emergency medical services can be provided to children and adolescents no matter where they live, attend school, or travel. The program is in its 30th year and is the only federal program dedicated to improving emergency medical care for children.

“Children present unique medical challenges and require specialized care, and the EMSC program continues to give medical personnel many of the tools they need to treat some of our country’s most vulnerable patients,” Hatch said. “I’ve been proud to support the EMSC program over the past 30 years and work with Sen. Casey and others to make it the widespread success it is today.”

“When it comes to medical treatment, children are not small adults, and the EMSC program recognizes the special care and attention they deserve,” Casey said. “This low-cost program has saved the lives of countless children and adolescents in the past 30 years, and I urge the House to take up the Senate bill and pass it.”

Pediatric patients have important physical, developmental, and mental differences from adults. From smaller-sized medical equipment to different dosage requirements for medicine, the EMSC program helps medical professionals meet the unique needs of pediatric patients and provide state of the art emergency medical care for ill and injured children and adolescents. Since the program was created in 1984, pediatric injury-related death rates have been reduced by more than 40 percent.

There are approximately 26,000,000 child and adolescent visits to the nation’s emergency departments each year. Approximately 90 percent of children requiring emergency care are seen in general hospitals, not in free standing children’s hospitals, with ¼ to 1/3 of the patients being seen in hospitals with no separate pediatric ward.

EMSC Program Components

State Partnership Grants provide states with resources to conduct assessments of their EMSC capabilities; identify gaps; and establish appropriate standards, training and resources to ensure appropriate emergency care is available to meet the needs of pediatric patients. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have received EMSC funding under this grant program.

Targeted Issue Grants are awarded to eligible applicants to help address issues of national significance that extend beyond State boundaries. Typically, these grants result in new products or resources, or show the feasibility of new methods, policies, or practices.

The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network is a research infrastructure that facilitates the collaboration of pediatric researchers across the nation in order to perform statistically-valid pediatric emergency research with national utility and application.

State Partnership Regionalization of Care grants establish agreements and ultimately implement a regionalized health care delivery system to get the right resources to the right patient at the right time.

The National Resource Center, at Children’s National Medical Center, maintains the EMSC Program’s professional partnerships with organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and other related professional organizations. The National Resource Center also helps to disseminate information and supports a special collaboration with the Family Advisory Network.

The National EMS for Children Data Analysis Resource Center assists grantees in data collection, analysis and dissemination.

The National Pediatric Readiness Project is an initiative that measures emergency department pediatric readiness, works to build awareness of national pediatric guidelines on emergency care, and works to improve/increase pediatric competency and capacity within individual hospitals.

Submitted by the offices of Sen. Orrin Hatch

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