Access to Emergency Medical Services in Rural AreasWhile the range of problems faced by rural emergency medical services (EMS) has been well documented, little is known about the quality and availability of rural emergency services at the national level. A baseline picture of rural EMS on a national level is necessary to evaluate how recent public policy and industry changes will affect the provision of EMS to rural populations. This study will provide information and policy recommendations on the medical direction for rural EMS, programs and initiatives by state EMS agencies that target rural and volunteer EMS providers, integration initiatives by rural EMS and anticipated effects of the new Medicare fee schedule for rural EMS.
Access to Emergency Medical Services in Rural Areas: The Supporting Role of State EMS Agencies
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Reports the findings of a survey of state EMS directors regarding access to rural EMS; programs and initiatives by state EMS agencies that target rural and volunteer EMS providers; integration initiatives by rural EMS providers; issues in medical direction for rural EMS; and anticipated effects of the new Medicare fee schedule on rural EMS providers. Findings include: there is substantial state-by-state variation in the approach to EMS issues; EMS system development has not been a priority in state efforts; state EMS agencies address rural EMS provider needs in a limited manner; medical direction in rural EMS is a major issue in most states, but few states place a high priority on it; and EMS integration is sometimes seen as a panacea, but is not easily accomplished. Concludes that the time is right for a new national initiative to address EMS issues and to stimulate the development of EMS as a system, beyond its current fragmented state.