WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Congressman Jim Matheson announced Tuesday that legislation they introduced to reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children, or EMSC, program has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 405-4. The legislation is now ready for signature by President Obama after passing the Senate last week and the House Tuesday.
The legislation has made great strides to make sure that the entire spectrum of emergency medical services, or EMS, 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.
Two key components of EMSC are housed at the University of Utah – the National EMSC Data Analysis Resource Center, which improves the quality of care in State EMS systems; and the Central Data Management and Coordinating Center for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network, a network of pediatric researchers from around the country.
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. I’ve been proud to support the EMSC program over the past 30 years and work with Sen. Casey in the Senate, Congressman Matheson in the House, and many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make it the widespread success it is today.
I am proud that our commonsense legislation, which improves medical care for children across our country, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. We all agree that keeping our kids safe, and making sure that they are well cared for, both routinely and in times of crisis, is a top priority.
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 one-quarter to one-third 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 healthcare 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.