The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would authorize $12 million in grants to states, cities and counties by 2008 to increase the availability of trauma care nationwide.
Co-sponsored by Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Gene Greene (D-Texas), the bill would require the Health Resources and Services Administration to work with each state to help establish advanced life support systems and train emergency medical system personnel for rural areas, according to a copy of the remarks Burgess made on the House floor.
As the legislation is structured, entities, either states or independent agencies, may compete for planning and development grants to help improve the trauma system and coordination in a given region, Burgess said. This is a distinct difference from the trauma bill that existed before.
The American College of Emergency Physicians, a medical society that supports the legislation, said in a news release that the bill was originally authorized in 1990 and funded from 1992 to 2005, but did not receive funding for 2006 and 2007. Josh Martin, Burgess legislative director who worked on the legislation, said there is an identical bill in the Senate. It should move fairly quickly if they can get it on the calendar, Martin said.
Separately, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced the Access to Emergency Medical Services Act, a companion bill to a House version introduced in February. The bills call for a national bipartisan commission to examine factors that affect the delivery of care in U.S. emergency departments, and they provide for additional payments for certain physician services in emergency departments. The Senate bill also calls for a working group within the CMS to develop boarding and diversion standards, as well as guidelines and incentives for implementing those standards. -- by Jessica Zigmond