Implementation of the Emergency Medical Services Amendments of 1976

HRD-79-69: Published: Apr 12, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 1979.

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The implementation of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Amendments of 1976 was assessed in an attempt to determine to what extent the amendments have helped obtain community financial support to continue operating EMS systems. The amendments require that applications for expansion and improvement of grant funds contain specific financial plans for funding after the federal grant period terminates, and that these plans be endorsed by government bodies in the system.

GAO examined 25 of the 34 applications for first- and second-year expansion and improvement grant funds which were funded in fiscal year 1978, and found that regional EMS systems have done little to plan for financial self-sufficiency after federal funding ceases. All of the applications reviewed contained community endorsements of the regional EMS system concept, and most contained commitments from local governments to maintain some EMS within their jurisdiction after their federal grant terminates. However, only 6 of the 25 grant applications reviewed had developed specific financial plans, and only 1 of the 6 was properly endorsed. Of the 25 regional entitlees reviewed, 12 were seeking support from their state government for support for regional management operations.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should require the Administrator of the Health Services Administration to implement the new EMS regulations and promptly develop and issue program guidelines. Technical assistance should be provided to grantees in developing plans for self-sufficient EMS systems and to states that are developing legislation providing continuing support for regional EMS systems. The Administrator should place greater importance on the requirement for financial plans and commitments in the grant application review and ranking process.

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