Documents: 1966 EMS White Paper, 1973 EMS Act, & 1996 EMS Agenda

21 Aug Documents: 1966 EMS White Paper, 1973 EMS Act, & 1996 EMS Agenda

While prehospital care and transport has existed for more than a century in various forms, many people attribute the development of modern EMS systems in America with the release of a 1966 paper prepared by the National Academies of Sciences/National Research Council titled Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society. Frequently referred to as the “EMS White Paper,” this document sparked momentum and attention that would result in adding the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 300d) to the Public Health Service Act, which included the creation of 15 essential components of an EMS system.

15 Components

  1. Manpower
  2. Training
  3. Communication
  4. Transportation
  5. Facilities
  6. Critical Care Units
  7. Public Safety Agencies
  8. Consumer Participation
  9. Access to Care
  10. Patient Transfers
  11. Coordinated Patient Record Keeping
  12. Public Information and Education
  13. Review & Evaluation
  14. Disaster Planning
  15. Mutual Aid

The EMS Act of 1973 ignited focus on EMS systems development, design, and funding that created the foundation of what we live today. In spite of the heavy influence the White Paper and legislation to follow had on EMS system development, it’s surprising how many EMS leaders have never laid their eyes on the report or clicked through its findings. Thanks to modern technology, now you too can read the entire document, for free, online (Click the link above) and, if you want your very own hard copy, they’re on sale for $20. Enjoy.

In 1996, the National Highway Traffic Administration, other Federal Agencies, and representatives of various stakeholder groups built on this earlier work and developed the EMS Agenda for the Future. The EMS Agenda included an evolution of the original essential components, now known as the “14 Attributes.”

14 Attributes of an EMS System

  1. Integration of Health Services
  2. EMS Research
  3. Legislation and Regulation
  4. System Finance
  5. Human Resources
  6. Medical Direction
  7. Education Systems
  8. Public Education
  9. Prevention
  10. Public Access
  11. Communication Systems
  12. Clinical Care
  13. Information Systems
  14. Evaluation

The EMS Agenda for the Future is available online for free. Although it’s been more than 13 years since its release, the document continues to have legs in Federal activities. Unfortunately, many EMS leaders do not know it exists or have never reviewed it. It is recommended reading as well for any EMS leader.

Why are these documents relevant to you? They represent some of the foundations and frameworks that have guided or intended to guide EMS system development. They’re not all inclusive and may be absent of certian considerations, but they are important to understand. Having awareness of what lies within their pages helps us appreciate the past and supports a clearer path for the future. Enjoy.