NEMSAC Reviewing National Triage Proposal

There's a move to adopt a national triage system that would involve core criteria.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mention triage and responders know it’s the process involving sorting patients by severity of injury, the use of color-coded tags, the establishment of treatment and transportation sectors.

What they may not know is that there’s a move to accept model uniform core criteria (MUCC) for mass casualty triage as a consensus-based national guideline.

With funding from the CDC, a work group has been looking at triage across the country.

Many jurisdictions use Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START), as well as Jump START for incidents involving pediatric patients.

Accepting MUCC as the national triage system would require everyone at every level to change their current practices, Dr. Bob Bass, a member of FICEMS, recently told the National EMS Advisory Council.

While MUCC has been endorsed by a number of EMS stakeholder organizations, challenges still remain in regard to whether it will be adopted as the national model.

Bass added that right now there is a “lack of evidence regarding the impact of using a MUCC-compliant MCI triage method versus a non-MUCC-compliant MCI triage method.”

While some of the core criteria in MUCC are currently part of START, Jump START and other triage systems, others are new.

Reviewing MUCC at a recent meeting, FICEMS members decided to turn to NEMSAC for suggestions and guidance.

“This is the first time that FICEMS has made a request to NEMSAC,” noted Gam Wijetunge, a NHTSA Office of EMS staff member.

The questions posed to the group for input include:

  • Should FICEMS support the national adoption of MUCC?
  • Is there a need for a national, state and/or local process, criteria and organization to determine what triage tools are MUCC-compliant?
  • Should there be an addendum published in the National EMS Education Standards referencing the principles of MUCC?
  • Should additional actions be taken by FICEMS member agencies to support the initial and continuing education of EMS workers in the principles of MUCC?
  • What are the most significant common barriers that state, territorial and tribal governments might face in supporting the adoption of MUCC?
  • Are there specific actions FICEMS should undertake to engage non-federal national EMS stakeholder organizations in supporting national implementation of MUCC?

The NEMSAC Systems Committee was given the task to explore those issues, and generate a document to be brought back to the entire group.

Members of the Systems Committee include Kyle Gorman, chair; Art Cooper, Gary Ludwig, Bob Oenning, Scott Somers and Terry Mullins. Ad hoc members are Fergus Laughridge, Sean Caffrey and Nick Nudell.

Read the MUCC proposal.