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Federal EMS Committee Meets to Discuss EMS Issues

FICEMS members request meeting with White House on trauma systems, elect new chair and vice chair

At a recent meeting of the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS, representatives of several Federal agencies approved a letter to the White House requesting a meeting to discuss issues raised by a recent landmark report on the nation’s trauma system.

“A national trauma system, that integrates military and civilian capabilities, is a crucial part of our Nation’s infrastructure and is vital to preserve the health and productivity of the American people,” states the letter, which is addressed to Thomas Bossert, the president’s homeland security advisor.

A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommended better coordination of trauma care at the Federal level and improved integration of the military and civilian trauma systems in order to avoid preventable deaths. Many of the specific recommendations in the report relate to EMS care for trauma victims; FICEMS members have begun to take steps to address those issues, including hosting a recent stakeholder meeting to receive input from members of the EMS and trauma communities.

Updates on Opioid Overdoses, Other Projects

The FICEMS meeting agenda included updates on several other federal EMS projects, including EMS Agenda 2050, the National EMS Information System and the National EMS Scope of Practice Model. Jeremy Kinsman, a public health fellow with the NHTSA Office of EMS, also discussed several efforts happening at the national level to address the growing problem of opioid overdoses across the country.

One piece of those efforts is the development of evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of overdose victims by EMS clinicians. Researchers recently completed a systematic review of the research literature, which will be used to aid in the creation of those guidelines. The results of that review were published in Annals of Internal Medicine and are available online from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

FICEMS Elects Chair, Vice Chair

Other actions taken at the December 6 meeting included the election of a new FICEMS chair and vice chair. Ed Gabriel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will once again serve as chair. Gabriel is a longtime paramedic, having served in New York City for more than two decades before retiring from New York City Fire Department EMS as an assistant chief. He then worked for The Walt Disney Company as director of global crisis management and business continuity before coming to HHS in 2011.

Heidi King, Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was elected vice chair. For King, who recently came to NHTSA from GE Capital, her service on FICEMS marks a return to the world of public safety and EMS. Early in her career, she volunteered with the Chatham Emergency Squad in northern New Jersey, serving as an EMT, lieutenant and crew chief. She also worked as a law enforcement officer and 911 telecommunicator.