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.

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



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



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.

Next Task Force Meeting
Friday, October 21, 2022
8:30am - 12:30pm


State of Idaho Chinden Campus
11331 W Chinden Blvd, Building 6
Boise, ID 83714
Map of Idaho with Public Health Districs outlined and TSE Designated Centers noted
ARC GIS Map of call response times and call volumes.
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
June 2022 June 10th June 10th
July 2022 July 19th July 19th
August 2022 August 18th August 18th
September 2022 September 16th September 16th
October 2022 October TBD October TBD
November 2022 November TBD November TBD
December 2022 December TBD December TBD

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.