Emergency Medical Services Sustainability Task Force (EMSSTF)

The Idaho EMS Sustainability Task Force is a comprehensive group of subject matter experts working together to find solutions to the challenges facing those who provide the emergency medical response throughout Idaho.
Next Task Force Meeting - Friday February 17th, 2023 - 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM MT

IN-PERSON or VIRTUAL

11351 W Chinden Blvd Boise, Idaho 83714 – Building 6 | Map | Agenda TBD

 

Mission

Recommend policy solutions that will provide a sustainable EMS system that provides an appropriate, reliable response to medical emergencies throughout Idaho.

 

Vision

A sustainable EMS system that provides an appropriate, reliable response to medical emergencies throughout Idaho.

 

Background

EMS in Idaho is provided within a framework of organizations (EMS agencies) that vary in patient transport and clinical capabilities. Some EMS agencies use paid, career response personnel while others rely on volunteers. While there is considerable variation in the staffing patterns, one consistent attribute is rural communities tend to rely on volunteers to staff their EMS agencies.

The total number of licensed EMS personnel has remained relatively stable over the past 15 years but has not kept pace with the population growth in Idaho. It is worth noting that much of the increase in the numbers of licensed EMS personnel has been in the urban population centers while the number of EMS personnel in rural communities continues to shrink. If the current trend continues, many rural communities will be at risk of longer EMS response times due to the lack of EMS personnel. Communities that currently have a local ambulance service may have to rely on the ambulance service from a distant neighboring community.

There have been several efforts over to better understand the challenges facing the organizations and personnel who provide EMS in Idaho. The Idaho Office of Performance Evaluation (OPE) published a study in 2010 on the governance of EMS agencies in Idaho. In 2012 and 2018, the Bureau of EMS published reports detailing the concerns and possible solutions specific to volunteer EMS personnel. In 2021, OPE published a report on volunteer EMS providers that provides several actionable recommendations.

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, Board of Health & Welfare and the Health Quality Planning Commission reviewed the findings of the latest OPE report. The Health Quality Planning Commission asked the Department to convene a Task Force to find policy solutions (including draft legislative language) that will help assure that a reliable EMS reponse is available throughout the state.

Closeup of business professionals hands in a meeting
EMS Planner
Planners have been selected and have started to map out the EMS systems of Idaho
EMS Planner AOR
The map overlays EMS agencies with the areas of responsibility (AOR) for the 6 EMS Planner positions.
EMS Day at the Capitol
EMS Day at the Capitol took place on Monday January 23, 2023. It was an opportunity for legislators and state officials to learn about EMS, how it is delivered to Idahoans, and the challenges the system faces. Click the button below to see the information displayed and distributed during the event.
Task Force Representation

The Task Force is comprised of the following: Idaho EMS agencies, EMS educators, EMS Physicians Commission, fire departments, Association of Counties, Blue Cross of Idaho, Idaho Department of Health & Welfare, County Commissioners, Idaho Hospital Association, Idaho Office of Group Insurance, Idaho House of Representatives, Idaho Fire Chief's Association, Medicaid, PacificSource, PERSI, Professional Fire Fighter's of Idaho, EMS Director's, and County Commissioner's from neighboring states.

Roles and responsibilities vary within the Task Force. Some members serve as stakeholders, subject matter experts, or hold a position within one or more of the work groups. They are identified as follows:

Governance: How is EMS governed and funded?

Coverage: Determining if Idaho needs to require specific levels of EMS coverage and the clinical level and response time expectations at the local community level.

Personnel: Concerned with personnel compensation and benefits.

Meeting Information
weekly updates meeting minutes past agendas
2022 Weekly Updates 2022 Meeting Minutes 2022 Meeting Agendas
January 2023 January 20th January 20th
Resources

DRAFT Resolution for 2023 Legislative Session - Updated 11/02/2022

EMSSTF Talking Pointsinformative document that provides description of the Emergency Medical Services Task Force (i.e. overview, mission, vision, background, work plan, and work groups).

 

Town Hall Reports – Town Hall meetings were conducted throughout Idaho to explore solutions to the challenges hindering the recruitment and retention of volunteer emergency medical services personnel. Reports contain a wealth of information from these meetings to inform changes in the future.

 

Office of Performance Evaluation (OPE) Report – Evaluation of improvements to EMS administration and examine policies to address challenges in recruitment and retention of EMS volunteers.

 

Essential Service

 

Statutes, Rules, Laws

 

Incentives/Funding Alternatives (i.e. health insurance programs, pensions, tax incentives

 

Idaho’s Population

 

Additional Resources

  • EMS Agenda 2050 A people-centered vision for the future of Emergency Medical Services is the  culmination of a collaborative and inclusive two-year effort to create a bold plan for the next several decades. The EMS Agenda 2050 lays out a vision for EMS systems that serve the needs of patients, families, clinicians, and communities.
  • Emerging Digital Technologies in Emergency Medical Services: Considerations and Strategies to Strengthen the Continuum of CareAimed to provide a broad review, analysis, and identification of opportunities for the EMS community to address digital technology developments and offerings.
  • National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Policy BriefThe ideal emergency medical services (EMS) system involves dispatching the right EMS provider from the right location to provide timely and, if necessary, life-saving interventions followed by transport to an appropriate hospital. The reality for many rural patients is vastly different. Although many factors contribute to challenges in delivering optimal rural EMS care, issues related to the workforce are some of the most pervasive. Understanding the nature, function, and role of rural EMS and the individuals who provide the care is necessary to drive legislative and regulatory priorities.
FAQs
What is an essential service?
  • A service or function that is required to maintain the health and safety of a community.
Is Emergency Medical Services (EMS) identified in Idaho statute as an Essential Service?
  • No
What does EMS not being an essential service mean for Idahoans?
  • You or someone you know could be in an accident or having a medical emergency. If pre-hospital care or medical transport is needed, there is no guarantee that EMS will be able to respond or arrive in time depending on where the accident occurred.
What does it mean if EMS is made essential?
  • This would mean that EMS will be funded similarly to services like law enforcement.
What would this all change?
  • Currently there are multiple issues facing long-term EMS sustainability. The system, as it stands, is fractured and its longevity is not foreseen. The system is relying on volunteers, that are leaving the profession. The number of new paramedics has remained relatively the same over the past few years even with the booming population. EMS agencies and providers also face a variety of inconsistent funding streams; lack of educational and training opportunities; population growth; change in demographics, and changes to rural and urban areas.
What is the EMS Sustainability Task Force (EMSSTF)?
  • The EMSSTF is comprised of over 20 different agencies (EMS Personnel, legislators, county commissioners, insurance reps, and other stakeholders). Their mission is ensuring that this system works for the structure, function, and people it is intended for.
What is the EMSSTF trying to accomplish?
  • Our mission is the longevity and sustainability of EMS in Idaho and to ensure prehospital patient care is available and timely to those who need it.
Where can I find more information?