State EMS Agencies
Each state and territory in the United States has a lead EMS agency. These agencies are usually a part of the state health department, but in some states they are part of a multidisciplinary state public safety department, or are an independent state agency. State EMS agencies are responsible for the overall planning, coordination, and regulation of the EMS system within the state as well as licensing local EMS agencies and personnel.
The following functions are typically performed by state EMS agencies:
- Licensing of ground ambulance services, air ambulance services and non-transporting emergency medical services;
- Training, certification, and licensure of Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and Emergency Medical Dispatchers;
- Promulgating statewide medical protocols for EMS providers, or otherwise establishing the scope of EMS practice within the state;
- Oversight of state trauma care systems;
- Management of poison control systems;
- Serving as the lead agency for statewide trauma systems, EMS for Children and other specialty care systems;
- Collecting data from local EMS agencies, hospitals, and trauma centers and monitoring system performance and outcome;
- Management of statewide emergency medical services data systems;
- Helping to assure a broad base of financial support for the operation and maintenance of emergency medical services;
- Assuring that, in a changing health care delivery system, emergency medical services still serves as the “safety net” for the community;
- Operating or setting standards for use of statewide communications systems that connect EMS providers in the field with hospitals as well as trauma and specialty centers; and
- Preparing, planning for and coordinating the medical response and deployment of emergency medical resources to disasters and mass casualty incidents both intra- and interstate and, since 9/11, homeland security medical initiatives.
The nature and role of emergency medical services is evolving. Increasingly, there is overlap between emergency medical services, public safety and public health. The state EMS agency assures the quality of a statewide coordinated, high quality emergency medical services system in order to protect the health and safety of the public.