Emergency Medical Services Administrators' Association of California

Emergency Medical Services Administrators' Association of California

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Valley Fire

In September, the Valley Fire consumed over 76,000 acres and destroyed over 1,300 homes in mostly-rural Lake and Napa counties. Region II Disaster Medical Health Specialist Kelly Coleman was very busy sharing situation status reports and coordinating resource requests for EOC management, shelter medical and mental health needs in the impacted area. Surrounding counties from Region II responded generously with incident management, medical, mental health and other disaster support staff. Field operations included the deployment of Medical Reserve Corps units from Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Cruz to provide disaster medical services for evacuation centers, public shelters and local assistance centers. Important lessons in interagency coordination and communication, resource ordering, and demobilization will eventually be shared with fellow LEMSA colleagues, and our public health and medical partners.
Legislation by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, to increase public and private access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in California, was signed September 3rd by Governor Brown. SB 658 streamlines state requirements that commercial building owners and public facilities need to follow in order to be immune from liability if they have AEDs on their property. The legislation takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Individuals, acting as good Samaritans, are already protected from liability if they cause harm while using the devices. But under current law, facilities like schools, office buildings, stadiums and shopping malls that have AEDs are only immune from liability if they meet onerous conditions, including costly training and medical oversight requirements.
Current-generation AEDs are so user friendly that nearly anyone can successfully use them without training or practice. They even have a built-in computer that monitors the heart rhythm of the cardiac arrest victim to determine if a shock should be administered. SB 658 modernizes liability requirements with more basic safeguards such as battery checks, AED maintenance, AED location notification for building tenants, posting of instructions next to the device, and an annual demonstration for building tenants. 


On September 2nd, the State Commission on EMS approved new regulations that create an appeal procedure for local EMS agencies whose EMS Plan has been disapproved or denied by the California EMS Authority. Under existing statute, the Commission may hear an appeal regarding negative action by EMSA on a local EMS Plan. These new regulations provide procedural steps for these appeals based on the California Administrative Procedure Act. Several local EMS agencies have experienced recent denials of their EMS Plan by the Authority, and the new administrative procedure is expected to be utilized immediately.

Michael Petrie announced he has accepted a permanent role as EMS Director for Monterey County. He had been serving as Monterey's Interim EMS Director since late April. Previously, Mike also has served as EMS Director for Santa Clara County EMS and as EMS Administrator for San Francisco EMS so he is very experienced and knowledgeable. EMSAAC wishes our talented colleague the very best with his latest assignment.

HIEOn July 28, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, announced that California’s Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) has been awarded a grant of $2.75 million over two years to advance health information exchange (HIE) statewide during a disaster and in daily emergency medical services (EMS) activities.

“This project will allow us to work through the obstacles and find the best solutions, which can then be implemented across the state,” said Dr. Howard Backer, Director of California's Emergency Medical Services Authority. “The benefits will be measurable, as we will have a system that will not only allow us to provide better patient care in the field, but will also collect data to track the impacts on the EMS system and patient outcomes.”

The funds will be used to develop two health information technology projects over two years: 1) connectivity between existing health information organizations (HIOs) to support health care provider access to health records statewide during a disaster, and 2) technology and infrastructure to give EMS providers in the field access to send and receive critical patient information. The grant will also fund an advisory committee consisting of public and private partners from HIE organizations, local EMS agencies, ambulance providers, hospitals and consumers as well as a robust education effort to ensure that the learning is shared.

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