Promoting Innovation in EMS

Academic Grants The most prestigious of these are often available through the National Institutes of Health 62 and require significant research expertise. However, any EMS agency working with a nearby academic medical center should consider developing relationships with the emergency department’s research division and its researchers. Inexperienced researchers should consider reaching out to the Office of Emergency Care Research 63 for guidance and assistance on how to successfully apply. Hospital Preparedness Grants These are issued through the Department of Health and Human Services , Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. EMS initiatives that help improve a hospital’s preparedness can qualify for grant support. 64 Perhaps improving the prehospital notification process or efforts aimed at reducing ED diversion such as alternative destination program could qualify. Highway Safety Grant Programs These are issued through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and support efforts aimed at reducing traffic injuries and fatalities. 65 This might be ideal for EMS initiatives that support trauma system development, piloting new clinical modalities for trauma patients or ambulance and patient safety initiatives. Assistance to Firefighters Grants This program, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is open to fire suppression

practices. Perhaps the industry can develop better cost-reporting tools or a standardized industry- specific accounting approach so that a common financial language can be garnered and leveraged within the industry. Business leaders and others also need to find ways to align their financial measurement strategy with future reimbursement reform and emerging pay for performance payment schemes, even before the exact arrangements become certain. Finally, EMS agencies might pursue new delivery models through internal funding mechanisms or through “selling” their ideas to local stakeholders such as overcrowded EDs, health plans, or risk- bearing accountable care organizations, who hope to gain from the innovation. However, “selling” the innovation and potential return-on-investment, or creating the business case may require developing additional business acumen and communication skills not often found in local EMS agencies. GRANT SUPPORT Occasionally, an agency might have a reasonable financial sustainability plan for a new service or innovation. However, for a small agency with limited financial resources, start-up costs can be an insurmountable barrier. One strategy to overcome the challenges associated with launching and evaluating a pilot program might be to seek academic, governmental, or foundational grant support. This has certainly worked for a few agencies to get pilots off the ground. However, for most agencies, even knowing about which grants they might be eligible for seems an overwhelming hurdle. A few categories worth pursuing are:

62 National Institute of Health. Accessed June 28, 2017. 63 “Office of Emergency Care Research.” National Institute of General Medical Sciences . Last modified January 6, 2017. 64 “HHS Grants Bolster Health Care and Public Health Disaster Preparedness.” Public Health Emergency . Last modified February 7, 2017. 65 “Highway Safety Grant Programs.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration . Accessed June 28, 2017.




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