On Thursday, January 23, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians made history by officially launching the National EMS-ID number system. The first national EMS-ID was ceremonially issued to the National Registry’s Chief Operating Officer, Donnie Woodyard, Jr., a Nationally Registered Paramedic since 1997.
“Launching the EMS-ID is a significant milestone for the EMS profession, the national EMS system, and the National Registry. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Registry, part of our heritage was to facilitate a national EMS system in the United States by keeping a Registry of EMS personnel; the EMS-ID is another way of fulfilling our organization’s mission,” said Bill Seifarth, the Executive Director of the National Registry of EMTs.
Woodyard was issued the first EMS-ID because of his work and dedication to the project.
What is the National EMS ID?
The EMS-ID is a unique 12-digit identification number issued at no cost to all EMS professionals and students seeking to enter the profession. The EMS-ID number is automatically generated by the National Registry when an individual first creates an account. For the nearly two-million EMS professionals that created an account prior to January 23, 2020, an EMS-ID is being retroactively created.
The EMS-ID is randomly generated and does not contain any personal encoded data about the EMS professional. However, similar to the National Provider Identifier (NPI) used by physicians, EMS-IDs are issued using an algorithm that is also used to verify the authenticity of any EMS-ID.
What’s the difference between an EMS-ID and a National Registry number?
Since 1970, the National Registry has issued a unique National Registry Number (NR Number) when an individual becomes certified. Although National Registry Numbers are unique to an individual, they are not static. For example, all Advanced-EMTs and Paramedics will have multiple valid National Registry numbers issued during their career—first as an EMT, then as a Paramedic. National Registry Numbers are not going away; they are linked to the specific certification earned. However, National Registry numbers were never designed to be a unique identifier and because the numbers change with time, it is difficult to cross-reference databases with only a National Registry number.
The EMS-ID number, is issued once and does not change or expire. The EMS-ID number is like a master account number, individual certification numbers will each be linked to the EMS-ID.
Why is an EMS-ID number needed?
When the Interstate Commission for EMS Personnel Practice requested the National Registry develop a database to meet the needs of the EMS Compact, it was quickly evident that a mechanism was required to link EMS licensure records across multiple state licensure systems and the National Registry. Due to privacy concerns surrounding the use of Social Security Numbers, combined with the opportunity to build a new database for the EMS Compact, the National Registry leveraged the opportunity to create a national unique identifier for the EMS profession.
The implementation of the EMS-ID is a milestone for the EMS profession. In today’s work environment, EMS personnel are part of a national EMS system; a system where EMS personnel are mobile during the progression of their career.
How do individuals find or claim their EMS-ID?
EMS-IDs are not yet publicly available. This is the exciting beginning of this initiative, not the finish line. The process of implementing the EMS-IDs and working with states to incorporate the EMS-ID into their systems will take time. However, in coordination with the anticipated launch of the EMS Compact later this year, the EMS-ID will be part of the National Registry’s website and several state licensure systems by June (2020).
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