EMS Agenda for the Future Revision Team Seeks Input

EMS Agenda for the Future Revision Team Seeks Input

Article May 18, 2016

It’s been 20 years since publication of the seminal Emergency Medical Services Agenda for the Future. As a framework to guide the long-term development of American EMS, it’s worked pretty well, even if we’ve had mixed success implementing its ideas. But like anything from the 1990s, it could stand some updating in 2016.

That process has begun, and in a preliminary webinar on May 16, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of EMS convened an expert panel to discuss the Agenda’s forthcoming revision.

The panel, hosted by NHTSA’s Noah Smith, included two members of the steering committee behind the original document: former Vermont EMS director Dan Manz, now executive director of that state’s Essex Rescue, and Ted Delbridge, MD, MPH, chair of the Emergency Medicine Department at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. They were joined by Beth Edgerton, MD, director of the Division of Child, Adolescent and Family Health for HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Before taking questions from webinar attendees, the panelists each spoke about aspects of the Agenda and its influence over the years, as well as what changes it needs now. Manz described how it was conceived and came about and some of the changes it’s precipitated in areas like education. Edgerton noted the evolution it’s helped drive toward evidence-based care and improved research. Delbridge traced its influence on the expanding concept of EMS as part of integrated care.

How to Participate

The webinar, part of the collaborative EMS Focus series, will ultimately be available at www.ems.gov. Meanwhile, the deadline for contributing to the revision’s call for public content is June 30.

NHTSA wants input from all comers: public, private, governmental, academic, professional, public interest groups and any others interested. To comment, use the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov or send mail to Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590. Reference docket #NHTSA-2016-0035.

Specifically the revision team seeks answers to some key questions:

1. What are the most critical issues facing EMS systems that should be addressed in the revision of the EMS Agenda? Please be as specific as possible.

2. What progress has been made in implementing the EMS Agenda since its publication in 1996?

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3. How have you used the EMS Agenda? Please provide specific examples.

4. As an EMS stakeholder, how might the revised EMS Agenda be most useful to you?

5. What significant changes have occurred in EMS systems at the national, state and local levels since 1996?

6. What significant changes will impact EMS systems over the next 30 years?

7. How might the revised EMS Agenda support the following FICEMS Strategic Plan goals:

  • Coordinated, regionalized, and accountable EMS and 9-1-1 systems that provide safe, high-quality care;
  • Data-driven and evidence-based EMS systems that promote improved patient care quality;
  • EMS systems fully integrated into state, territorial, local, tribal, regional and federal preparedness planning, response and recovery;
  • EMS systems that are sustainable, forward looking and integrated with the evolving healthcare system;
  • An EMS culture in which safety considerations for patients, providers and the community permeate the full spectrum of activities; and
  • A well-educated and uniformly credentialed EMS workforce.

8. How could the revised EMS Agenda contribute to enhanced emergency medical services for children?

9. How could the revised EMS Agenda address the future of EMS data collection and information sharing?

10. How could the revised EMS Agenda support data-driven and evidence-based improvements in EMS systems?

11. How could the revised EMS Agenda enhance collaboration among EMS systems, healthcare providers, hospitals, public safety answering points, public health, insurers, palliative care and others?

12. How will innovative patient care delivery and finance models impact EMS systems over the next 30 years?

13. How could the revised EMS Agenda promote community preparedness and resilience?

14. How could the revised EMS Agenda contribute to improved coordination for mass casualty incident preparedness and response?

15. How could the revised EMS Agenda enhance the exchange of evidence-based practices between military and civilian medicine?

16. How could the revised EMS Agenda support the seamless and unimpeded transfer of military EMS personnel to roles as civilian EMS providers?

17. How could the revised EMS Agenda support interstate credentialing of EMS personnel?

18. How could the revised EMS Agenda support improved patient outcomes in rural and frontier communities?

19. How could the revised EMS Agenda contribute to improved EMS education systems at the local, State, and national levels?

20. How could the revised EMS Agenda lead to improved EMS systems in tribal communities?

21. How could the revised EMS Agenda promote a culture of safety among EMS personnel, agencies and organizations?

22. Are there additional EMS attributes that should be included in the revised EMS Agenda? If so, please provide an explanation for why these additional EMS attributes should be included.

23. Are there EMS attributes in the EMS Agenda that should be eliminated from the revised edition? If so, please provide an explanation for why these EMS attributes should be eliminated.

24. What are your suggestions for the process that should be used in revising the EMS Agenda?

25. What specific agencies/organizations/entities are essential to involve, in a revision of the EMS Agenda?

26. Do you have any additional comments regarding the revision of the EMS Agenda?

For questions or more information, see the Federal Register announcement or e-mail Gamunu Wijetunge in NHTSA’s Office of EMS.

Find the original Agenda at www.ems.gov/pdf/2010/EMSAgendaWeb_7-06-10.pdf.


We’ve heard for years that communication is the cornerstone of becoming a successful leader. We’re assured that strong communication skills can help us motivate, inspire and create passion within our workforce. While the art of communication is certainly a vital tool, it’s actually the element of effective listening that’s the secret to leadership success.

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