Emergency Medical Services

Reported Needs Are Wide-Ranging, With A Growing Focus on Lack of Data. Gao ID: GAO-02-28 October 12, 2001

Local emergency medical systems (EMS) have reported substantial needs in such areas as personnel, training, equipment, and the availability of doctors to advise emergency personnel in the field. Federal agencies have supported EMS improvements by acting as facilitators rather then by establishing requirements or providing significant funding. The agencies provide technical assistance, set voluntary standards for licensing EMS providers, and administer limited grant funding. The four federal agencies GAO studied have separately begun to collect EMS data or promote data consistency. However, progress in developing this information has been slow. State and local EMS officials attributed the lack of progress to the many competing demands on their time and said that EMS providers and local systems have few incentives to collect and report EMS information.

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