Philadelphia, PA- As U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s (D-PA) bill, the Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act of 2014, heads to the President’s desk for signature, Casey and a local doctor detailed the impact the soon-to-be signed legislation could have on children in Philadelphia and throughout the country. Casey highlighted how the program has benefited Philadelphia children to date, by developing guidelines for CT scans for children following head injuries and screening for childhood depression, among other important advancements. When signed, the legislation will protect this program through 2019.
“I’m pleased that the Senate and House came together on a bipartisan basis to protect this important program that continues to improve the emergency care available to children in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Senator Casey said. “When President Obama signs this legislation it will lay down a foundation that can lead to advances in medical research and improvements in the way our country provides care for vulnerable children.”
Now in its 30th year, the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program has made great strides to make sure that the entire spectrum of emergency medical services (EMS) can be provided to children and adolescents no matter where they live, attend school, or travel.
Pediatric patients have important physical, developmental, and mental differences from adults. From smaller-sized medical equipment to different dosage requirements for medicine, the EMSC program helps medical professionals meet the unique needs of pediatric patients and provide state of the art emergency medical care for ill and injured children and adolescents. Since the program was created in 1984, pediatric injury-related death rates have been reduced by more than 40 percent.
There are approximately 26,000,000 child and adolescent visits to the Nation’s emergency departments each year. Approximately 90 percent of children requiring emergency care are seen in general hospitals, not in free standing children’s hospitals, with one-quarter to one-third of the patients being seen in hospitals with no separate pediatric ward.
Injury and poisoning combined are the most common reason for pediatric emergency department visits, accounting for nearly 30 percent of such visits, while respiratory disorders such as asthma account for another 26 percent of pediatric emergency department visits.
Up to one-quarter of children needing emergency care have special health care needs due to underlying medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, sickle-cell disease, low birth weight, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
EMSC Program Components
- State Partnership Grants provide states with resources to conduct assessments of their EMSC capabilities; identify gaps; and establish appropriate standards, training and resources to ensure appropriate emergency care is available to meet the needs of pediatric patients. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have received EMSC funding under this grant program.
- Targeted Issue Grants are awarded to eligible applicants to help address issues of national significance that extend beyond State boundaries. Typically, these grants result in new products or resources, or show the feasibility of new methods, policies, or practices.
- The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) is a research infrastructure that facilitates the collaboration of pediatric researchers across the nation in order to perform statistically-valid pediatric emergency research with national utility and application.
- State Partnership Regionalization of Care (SPROC) grants establish agreements and ultimately implement a regionalized healthcare delivery system to get the right resources to the right patient at the right time.
- The National Resource Center, at Children’s National Medical Center, maintains the EMSC Program’s professional partnerships with organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and other related professional organizations. The National Resource Center also helps to disseminate information and supports a special collaboration with the Family Advisory Network.
- The National EMS for Children Data Analysis Resource Center (NEDARC) assists grantees in data collection, analysis and dissemination.
- The National Pediatric Readiness Project is an initiative that measures emergency department pediatric readiness, works to build awareness of national pediatric guidelines on emergency care, and works to improve/increase pediatric competency and capacity within individual hospitals.