Major Topic #8: Policy Development
Policy development and planning includes strategies to:
In many communities there is no entity with authority or responsibility for management of IFT issues. In some States/communities, formal agreement among the stakeholders may be sufficient to implement IFT strategies. Frequently, however, legislation and regulation are necessary. Whether derived from government authority or established through formal stakeholder agreement, it is important the IFT policies, procedures, authorities and responsibilities be articulated carefully and communicated to all stakeholders.
Legislation, adopted by a governing body (e.g. State legislature, county council), usually establishes which government entity is responsible for management of IFT, delineates that agency’s authority and responsibility and establishes other IFT parameters potentially including the need for a license. Frequently, the government agency, such as a state or county health department or State EMS Agency, is authorized to promulgate rules/regulations that may establish IFT licensure requirements including, for instance, personnel education and certification, safety, reporting procedures, medical direction and license suspension or revocation. Sometimes, these detailed requirements are determined by the governing body and are included in the legislation. In some States, IFT regulation authority may be contained in the State EMS agency’s authorizing legislation.
A systematic process is recommended to assess the current status of and potential need for IFT legislation and regulation including finding the answers to the following questions:
In evaluating the adequacy of existing agreements, laws, regulations or policies, the following considerations may be important:
Persons interested in developing legislation or regulations for IFT should become familiar with their jurisdiction’s system. For instance, visiting with and involving State EMS Agency staff may be essential to improving IFT policy development and implementation. The State EMS Agency can usually provide good information on the status of IFT legislation, regulation and legal decisions. Understanding of the State’s regulatory process and gaining support for authorizing legislation or regulations can reduce misunderstandings and conflict. For instance, many State EMS offices have an advisory council that provides advice on regulatory and EMS system issues. It may be important to have an individual experienced and interested in IFT issues attend the meetings and provide information on IFT issues. An ad hoc group can be formed to make recommendations for advisory council consideration.
Educating and involving third party payers may also be a key activity to improving your IFT system.
To obtain more information on statutes and administrative rules and how they affect EMS in your State, contact the State EMS office. A listing can be found at www.nasemsd.org, the Web site for the National Association for State EMS Officials.