The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for HIT http://healthit.gov announced on July 28, 2015, announced that California’s Emergency Medical Service Authority (EMSA) www.emsa.ca.gov will receive a grant for $2.75 million over two years.
The goal is to advance the use of the HIE statewide during a disaster and regionally by helping daily Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The overall plan is for EMSA to provide funding and technical assistance to support the ability of local entities to send, receive, find, and use electronic patient information.
“Since its inception HITECH funding has been almost exclusively directed toward hospitals, physicians, and health information organizations,” said Dr. Howard Backer, Director for EMSA. “We are pleased to see our federal partners recognize that EMS as a healthcare provider is currently missing from the equation. It is our hope that EMS will soon be a full participant with regular and secure two-way exchange of patient information with other healthcare providers.”
The funds will be used to develop two health IT projects over two years. The first project will develop connectivity between existing HIOs to support healthcare providers that need to have access to health records statewide during a disaster. The second project will develop technology to give EMS providers in the field access to critical patient information.
In addition to the announcement made on July 28, 2015, another grant notification document was released on August 28, 2015 to provide information on another upcoming grant opportunity. The reason to announce the forthcoming funding announcement on August 28, 2015 was to give organizations the opportunity to plan for future technology development.
The August 28th grant notification referred to as “Local Implementation of +EMS Component of HIE” will enable local EMS agencies, HIOs, ambulance providers, and hospitals to come forward with a plan for local implementation of the +EMS components included in the original grant funding. The release of the forthcoming grant opportunity is anticipated early October 2015.
The anticipated grant project +EMS consists of SEARCH.ALERT, FILE, and RECONCILE functionality and will establish interoperability and exchange of clinically relevant patient information during daily emergency medical treatment and transport.
This grant will also develop technology, infrastructure, policies and agreements to enable interoperable, bidirectional HIE between multiple HIOs during a disaster and between emergency ambulance providers and hospitals via HIOs for daily EMS operations.
The total amount available for the +EMS component will be about $1 million. EMSA is anticipating that there will be 2-4 awards of between $250,000 and $400,000 for each award. It is anticipated that the grant period will run from contract execution through June 30, 2017.