Emergency Medical Services Section
Updates and Action Items
EMS Section Secretary Vacancy
The Executive Committee is now accepting applications to fill the vacant position of Secretary. The person filling this position will serve until May 2014 and will be able to run for re-election to serve the full two year term from 2014-2016. Please see the vacancy positing (pdf) for more information on the position as well as how to apply.
2013 EMS Section Election Update
The nomination period for running in the 2013 EMS Section executive board election closed in March. This year, the chair and treasurer positions were open for nomination and election. The following individuals were installed in their new positions on May 5 at Fire Rescue Med in Las Vegas, NV.
- Chair: Chief David Becker (Ret.)
- Treasurer: Chief J. Robert Brown, Jr.
Additionally, due to vacancies on the Board due to elections, the following position was filled for the remainder of the 2012-2014 term:
- Vice Chair: Chief Michael Metro
EMS Section Provides Drug Shortage Recommendations to FDA
In June 2012, Congress passed the FDA Safety and Innovation Act (P.L. 112-144) which contained a variety of strategies to help prevent and mitigate drug shortages. P.L. 112-144 required the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish an internal Drug Shortage Task Force to provide guidance on preventing and mitigating future drug shortages. The EMS Section submitted recommendations to the FDA to improve their ability to help fire departments respond to drug shortages. The EMS Section’s complete comments can be seen here (pdf).
HHS Announces New HIPAA Regulations
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released its massive update of the HIPAA regulations. These changes will take effect on March 26, 2013, and healthcare providers must be in full compliance with these regulations by September 23, 2013. A few brief highlights of the new regulations include:
- Expanded breach notification standard creates a wider definition of security breach, thus prompting more frequent patient notifications
- Expanded definition of entities and business associates who must comply with HIPAA regulations
- Expanded patient right to access electronic copies of their personal health information (PHI)
- Increased restrictions on use and disclosure of PHI
The new HIPAA regulations come as a result of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HI-TECH Act), which passed as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). The HI-TECH Act was created to promote the adoption of improved health information technology.
To see the complete list of HIPAA regulations and changes, please see the publication of the new regulations in the Federal Register.
EMS Section Executive Board Elections
The nominations period to run for office on the EMS Section Executive Board will begin on February 4, 2013 and will close on March 8, 2013. Voting will be open to all EMS Section members from March 18, 2013 through April 5, 2013. The election results will be announced at Fire Rescue Med on May 5, 2013. For more information on running or the election process, please see the EMS Section Candidate Manual (pdf).
HHS Clarifies Patient Outcome Information Sharing
HHS has responded to requests to clarify HIPAA implications for sharing patient outcome information for EMS quality improvement purposes. This letter from the Department of Health and Human Services (pdf) outlines when patient information can be shared between EMS agencies and healthcare providers in order to improve overall quality of care.
Letter on Drug Shortages Affecting EMS Sent to Congress
The IAFC, working with the EMS Section and other national EMS-related organizations, sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee members and Senate HELP Committee members to raise awareness that drug shortages are affecting EMS agencies. Both the House letter (pdf) and the Senate letter (pdf) asks the respective committees to keep in mind the need to improve access of life-saving, not just life-sustaining, medications emergency patients receive through EMS agencies before delays and disruptions in patient care become more widespread with adverse consequences. While the drug shortages may be an urgent issue for hospitals and healthcare facilities, a crisis level has already been breached for EMS systems and the patients we serve. Legislation to address the drug shortage issue is expected to move through both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate HELP Committee during April.
IAFC Adopts Position Statement on National Drug Shortage
The IAFC Board of Directors has adopted a position statement on U.S.-wide trends of fire departments and EMS agencies experiencing critical shortages of drugs that are used to save the lives of patients that may be suffering from trauma or a medical emergency. The IAFC Position Statement on the National Drug Shortage (pdf) calls on the American fire service to make addressing the national drug shortage a top priority.
The position was brought forward to the IAFC leadership by the IAFC EMS Section following extensive research and discussions with local and national stakeholders.
“A solution must be found; paramedics must have the crucial and necessary drugs to save the lives of their patients,” said Chief Gary Ludwig, chair of the IAFC EMS Section.
- Is a forum that addresses fire service based-EMS issues.
- Provides guidance and direction to the IAFC board and membership on fire service EMS issues.
- Represents fire service-based EMS issues to the federal government and other interest groups.
The Section is one of the IAFC’s largest sections with over 1,300 members... More