Updates from the Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS) and National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee (NEMSAC)
Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS)
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Statement
With this reinforced dedication, FICEMS can better achieve and enhance the EMS mission for all persons. FICEMS' newly released Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) document serves not only as a declaration of FICEMS' core values, but also as a foundational roadmap for agencies looking to improve their emergency medical services.
The EMS Agenda 2050 outlines a socially equitable EMS system that ensures quality and accessible care for all, irrespective of any social determinants. Achieving this vision requires a collective and sustained effort. The DEIA statement from FICEMS marks a significant step in this direction, underlining the organization's firm commitment to a diverse and inclusive EMS landscape.
Agencies are encouraged to review the new DEIA statement as a guiding resource for aligning their practices with these crucial principles. For more information on the work FICEMS is doing to support federal collaboration in an effort to improve EMS across the nation, visit the FICEMS resources page on ems.gov.
National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee (NEMSAC)
Advisories and Recommendations
NEMSAC has been working on a number of advisories with recommendations for FICEMS and its member agencies and the Secretary of Transportation. The finalized versions of these advisories contain an executive summary, recommendations for addressing it, strategic visions and goals, and sections for references and appendices. All finalized advisories are available for review on ems.gov.
NEMSAC advisories go through two phases—“draft” and “interim”—before being finalized. A draft advisory is a formative, documented version open to the public to inspect and comment on; comments should improve the council’s awareness of the breadth and depth of the EMS issue the advisory addresses. An interim advisory is also available for public comment; however, at this stage representatives feel substantive editing is complete.
In early 2023, NEMSAC finalized two advisories, Ensuring Optimal Emergency Response via a Fully Integrated 911 and Emergency Medical Dispatch System and A Strategy to Mitigate Negative Impacts to the Well-Being of EMS Practitioners During Public Health Emergencies.
At the conclusion of the NEMSAC meeting in August 2023, one advisory, 2023 Biennial EMS Funding, matured to the interim stage. This advisory provides background on reimbursement for care and the shortfall in meeting the full costs of delivering EMS care. It also includes recommendations for assessing and improving EMS funding mechanisms.
Advisories still in draft at the August NEMSAC meeting included topics such as ambulance crash data and analysis; equitable access to EMS based on population density; designation of graduate-prepared paramedics as federally recognized practitioners; and the impact of public law 115-83 on EMS practitioners.
In addition to advisories and recommendations, representatives proposed topics for NEMSAC to explore. When the council agrees that a topic should be explored, it’s assigned to a NEMSAC subcommittee for research and discovery. Subcommittee chairs provide updates on the progress of research and whether it will be moving forward as a draft advisory at council meetings. Other topics being researched for possible future advisories include:
Best practice for uses of body cameras
Mitigating medication, supply and device shortages
EMS response to threats
Establishing best practices for EMS in preparing for planned and unplanned large-scale events
Crash-scene safety for EMS responders and others
Quantifying violence against EMS practitioners
Strategies for providing MIH/community paramedic reimbursement and funding
Sustainable practices for appropriate HEMS utilization for emergency medical transport
EMS data manager career pathway
Bidirectional data-sharing between EMS and hospitals
Best practices for use of language-translation tools in the prehospital setting
Identification and modification of biased, inappropriate, inflammatory, or derogatory (BIID) language in EMS documentation to reduce biases in clinical care
November 2023 NEMSAC Meeting
The next NEMSAC meeting is scheduled for November 15-16, 2023. Advisories listed above will be addressed, and NEMSAC will host several special speakers to inform the advisories. Speakers scheduled for this meeting include:
Ryan Stark, JD
The Adaptation and Innovation Subcommittee requested subject matter expertise in the best practices for the uses of body cameras in the EMS environment of care. The Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Ambulance Crash Data Collection and Analysis also expressed interest in information on how cameras could be used to inform their advisory. To address considerations for the use of cameras in the EMS environment of care, Ryan Stark has been invited to present “Body Cams in EMS.” Ryan Stark is a Managing Partner with Page, Wolfberg & Wirth (PWW) and the firm’s resident HIPAA specialist. Ryan developed and is the primary instructor for the nation’s first and only HIPAA certification for the ambulance industry, the Certified Ambulance Privacy Officer. He also co-authored PWW’s widely used Ambulance Service Guide to HIPAA Compliance.
Yvonne Jonk, PhD
Dr. Jonk is a speaker requested by members of the council serving on the Equitable Patient Care Subcommittee. She is the Principal Investigator for Ambulance Deserts: Geographic Disparities in the Provision of Ambulance Services. Dr. Jonk will discuss her research, which may be used to inform the Equitable Access to EMS Based on Population Density advisory. She serves as the Deputy Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center and Associate Research Professor in the Department of Public Health at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.
Justin Mausz, PhD, ACP & Elizabeth Donnelly, PhD
The Professional Safety Subcommittee requested subject matter expertise for informing their Quantifying Violence against EMS Practitioners advisory. As co-investigators of “Violence in Paramedicine” from the McNally Project for Paramedic Research, Drs. Mausz and Donnelly will discuss their research findings. Dr. Mausz is a research scientist and an Advanced Care Paramedic (Intensive) at Peel Regional Paramedic Services in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Donnelly is a research scientist and Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.
Use this link to register for the November NEMSAC meeting.