Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services Convenes
Coordinated Solution Draws on Strengths of Multiple Agencies
Providing Federal leadership for a comprehensive national EMS system surpasses the expertise and funding of any single department — and requires a strong coordinated approach among Federal agencies. Many Federal agencies rely on EMS to fulfill their missions. Recognizing the importance of viable EMS systems to the Nation’s health, safety, and security, the Bush Administration proposed and Congress has established a Federal Interagency Committee on Emergency Medical Services (FICEMS). FICEMS members will bring the experience, expertise, and resources of all Federal agencies involved in EMS together to more effectively address EMS issues at the Federal level.
|Members of FICEMS attending the first meeting, from L to R: Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, DHS; Dr. Henry Falk, DHHS; Charles Dickenson, DHS, Dr. David R. Boyd, DHHS; Nicole R. Nason, NHTSA; Lt. Col. William J. Kormos, Jr., DOD; Dr. Kevin Yeskey, DHHS (on behalf of Rear Adm. Craig Vanderwagen); Dr. Peter Van Dyck, DHHS; Catherine W. Seidel, FCC; and Thomas Hamilton, CMS.
The Congressionally mandated FICEMS was included in legislation that reestablished the authority of the Department of Transportation. The law requires the Secretaries of Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security to establish FICEMS and requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide administrative support. Specifically, the NHTSA Office of EMS will take the lead on providing administrative support to FICEMS. As stated by Congress, the purposes of FICEMS are to:
- Ensure coordination among the Federal agencies involved with State, local, tribal, or regional emergency medical services and 9–1–1 systems;
- Identify State, local, tribal, or regional emergency medical services and 9–1–1 needs;
- Recommend new or expanded programs, including grant programs, for improving State, local, tribal, or regional emergency medical services and implementing improved emergency medical services communications technologies, including wireless 9–1–1;
- Identify ways to streamline the process through which Federal agencies support State, local, tribal, or regional emergency medical services;
- Assist State, local, tribal, or regional emergency medical services in setting priorities based on identified needs;
- Advise, consult, and make recommendations on matters relating to the implementation of the coordinated State emergency medical services programs; and
- Prepare an annual report to Congress regarding the committee’s activities, actions, and recommendations.
In May 2006, then-Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta contacted the heads of the various departments and agencies that are statutory members of FICEMS and asked them to name high-level representatives from their organizations. The names submitted included:
Department of Transportation
Nicole Nason, Administrator
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Department of Homeland Security
Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D., Chief Medical Officer
Charles Dickinson, Acting Administrator
U.S. Fire Administration
Department of Health & Human Services
Peter C. Van Dyck, M.D., MPH, Associate Administrator
Maternal & Child Health
Health Resources & Services Administration
Henry Falk, M.D., Director
Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Thomas Hamilton, Director
Survey & Certification Group
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
David R. Boyd, MDCM, FACS, EMS Coordinator
Indian Health Services
Rear Admiral Craig Vanderwagen, M.D.
Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness
Department of Defense
Lieutenant Colonel William J. Kormos Jr.,
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Health Affairs
Federal Communications Commission
Catherine W. Seidel, Acting Chief
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
First Meeting Held at DOT
The inaugural meeting of FICEMS was held on December 8, 2006, at the Department of Transportation in Washington DC. A number of Federal staff attended this first FICEMS meeting, as well as non-Federal guests, some of whom provided public comments. During this meeting:
- Administrator Nason was elected FICEMS chair, and will serve a one-year term.
- FICEMS members, who are high-level officials, agreed to:
- meet at least two times per year, and
- create a Technical Working Group (TWG) comprised of Federal staff who will provide FICEMS with support, advice, and recommendations on EMS issues as assigned by the Committee
- FICEMS established the following priorities for the TWG:
- Develop time tables and strategies for implementing Congressional mandates;
- Consider actions related to recommendations of the Institute of Medicine report entitled, “The Future of Emergency Care in the United States Health System”;
- Assess level of Federal funding to support EMS preparedness;
- Determine opportunities for improved EMS data standardization, collection, and analysis, including implementation of the National Emergency Medical Services Information System;
- Develop an inventory of Federal research funding available, and recommend strategies for funding CDC’s Acute Injury Care Research Agenda and NHTSA’s EMS Research Agenda.
FICEMS — Next Steps
The year ahead is expected to be a busy one as FICEMS and the Technical Working Groupmeets and addresses priority issues. For additional information on FICEMS, contact Drew Dawson, Director of NHTSA’s Office of EMS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-366-9966.