Rural Emergency Medical Services: Workforce and Medical Direction

Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2005
Project completed:
August 2007
This two year study will examine the status of medical direction for rural Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems, the nature of the challenges and impediments to obtaining adequate medical direction in rural areas and issues surrounding the recruitment and retention of paid and volunteer staff for rural EMS systems. Specific topics to be addressed include system characteristics that are associated with difficulty obtaining medical direction and the primary impediments to obtaining medical direction.

The study will be conducted in two parts. Part one will include a mailed survey of a national sample of EMS directors. Approximately 1,500 local EMS system directors will be selected randomly, stratified by location, from a master list of over 25,000 EMS systems maintained by the National Association of State EMS Directors. The survey will include approximately 30 questions (both closed and open ended) that focus on medical direction and recruitment and retention of EMT staff. Follow-up mailings and telephone calls will follow the initial mailing to ensure the best response rate possible. Survey data will be merged with other databases to assist in analyses across county demographic and geographic variables not captured elsewhere. Part two of this study will involve a secondary data analysis of the 1999 -2002 core Longitudinal Emergency Medical Technician Attributes and Demographics Study (LEADS) survey data. Results from the primary and secondary data analysis will result in multiple working papers and policy briefs of relevance to the rural health policy community.