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Emergency Medical Services educational seminars Foundation

The Department of Health is the lead agency for emergency medical services (EMS) in the commonwealth. The department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services is responsible for the statewide development and coordination of a comprehensive system to prevent and reduce premature death and disability. The bureau also interfaces with the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) and Healthy People 2020 objectives for the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania’s EMS system is defined by Act 37 of 2009. The state’s EMS system includes 15 Regional EMS Councils, the Statewide Advisory Council and the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation. Approximately 60, 000 EMS personnel and more than 1, 000 licensed ground and air ambulance services respond to over one million patients each year in Pennsylvania’s EMS delivery system.

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT - The Bureau licenses all ambulance services and credentials all prehospital providers in the commonwealth. Currently, almost 1, 000 licensed ambulance services operate over 3, 500 ambulance vehicles and 32 air ambulances. Personnel are certified as First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians, EMT-Paramedics, Prehospital Registered Nurses and Health Professional Physicians. The Medical Command Facility Directors and Medical Command Physicians are recognized by the EMS Regional Councils and credentialed by the EMS office. Trauma care is provided by 27 facilities accredited by the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation (PTSF). The Bureau links with PA’s Poison Control Centers (located in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) that provide advice and service to EMS personnel.

HUMAN RESOURCES AND EDUCATION - Accredited training institutes and accredited continuing education sponsors deliver training programs at 188 sites. Over 60 accredited training institutes provide educational programs leading to certification. All EMS training programs for certification must meet or exceed the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Standard Curriculum, be approved by Pennsylvania and comply with statutory and regulatory requirements.

TRANSPORTATION – Pennsylvania ambulance services operate as basic life support (BLS) or advanced life support (ALS). All licenses are issued for a three-year period. In 1994, the Department adopted a Quick Response Service (QRS) category for license. QRSs do not transport patients, but can arrive in shorter periods of time and begin care in locations that do not have nearby ambulance services available.

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