Updating Rural Medical Communications

Emergency responders are not always trained for the types of incidents they encounter, but they must be able to share information and provide situational awareness during response and recovery efforts. Today, medical providers need up-to-date communications systems and procedures to transmit patient information. This is very important especially when it necessary to transmit patient information and coordinate an influx of patients following large scale disasters or an ongoing crisis.

As the whole community becomes more engaged during emergencies and as technology advances, the need for medical communications and trained personnel increases to ensure coordinated and effective responses. Therefore it is necessary to improve the planning and coordination across the Emergency Communications Ecosystem and across geographies, especially in rural areas.

Rural communities are often underserved regions with health disparities such as high mortality rates and cardiovascular diseases. Due to the health needs of rural communities, coordinated emergency response is often provided by a variety of medical providers and non-emergency responders.

To meet the need in rural areas, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security, is addressing the National Emergency Communication Plan (NECP) gaps by reestablishing the Rural Emergency Medical Communications Demonstration Project (REMCDP to examine communications barriers and find solutions on how to enhance existing emergency medical communications.

To provide support for rural medical communications, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted the grants notice Rural Emergency Medical Communications Demonstration Project (REMCDP) on May 8, 2020 for two awards with an estimated total program funding to be $2,000,000.

The proposed demonstration project must:

  • Develop training to ensure that first responders can use emergency medical communications systems and equipment
  • Collaborate with state leaders to address the adoption of broadband
  • Collaborate with community representatives to support not only rural emergency medical care but other needs such as cybersecurity, patient tracking, sending alerting and providing social media guidance
  • Find innovative solutions so that emergency responders and medical practitioners can communicate in rural areas especially during difficult operating conditions
  • Identify, document, and share lessons learned with other stakeholders

 

Eligible application must be public and state controlled institutions of higher education and must also operate an emergency communications center. Applications are due June 24, 2020 with the anticipated award date to be September 29, 2020.

Go to https://www.grants.gov/custom/printSynopsisDetails.jsp for more information on grants notice PD-REM-20-001.

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