March 09, 2005

Crapo: EMS Funding Gets A Shot In The Arm

Appropriations measure includes grant funds for local EMS

Washington, DC â?? Under an amendment co-sponsored by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and included in the Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill (H.R. 2660), rural emergency medical services (EMS) will receive an additional $1 million in funding. The amendment supports the Rural EMS Training and Equipment Assistance Program which was enacted by the last Congress. The funding is available for competitive grants to recruit, train and retrain volunteer EMS personnel. It can also be used to purchase more up-to-date equipment. H.R. 2660 has passed the Senate on Wednesday evening, and has already been approved by the House; the measures will now be sent to a conference committee.â??It is fitting that we can make this announcement today as we mark the two-year anniversary of September 11th,â?? Crapo said. â??Emergency medical services played an integral role during the attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and without adequate training and resources, we will not have the reliable services that we presently have in many areas. Rural areas like Idaho have an added difficulty in retaining, recruiting and supporting EMS units. By providing these grants for rural EMS program, we are making progress in assuring that all Americans will have access to quality emergency care. While the amount provided for these grants is relatively small, it is a good beginning and will certainly provide a much-needed shot in the arm for rural EMS services throughout the country.â??The amendment was also co-sponsored by Senators Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas). It is supported by the National Rural Health Association, the American Heart Association, the National Association of EMS Directors, and other organizations who work in favor of EMS support.Crapoâ??s efforts to improve rural health access and services were also reflected in the inclusion of more than $1.6 billion for community health centers throughout the country. This represents an increase over last yearâ??s funds by more than $122 million. Community health centers provide critical health care services to underserved and uninsured people throughout America; a significant number are located in rural communities. During 2002, Idaho had seven community health centers operating at 39 delivery sites.# # #