The Legislature passed S.5, which establishes certain reporting requirements for emergency medical services (EMS) providers and EMS dispatch centers.
Each EMS provider that provides pre-hospital emergency medical care to patients in the State will be required to report to the Department of Health (DOH) certain information about each incident for which the entity provides emergency medical services. This information is to be reported in the most current format used by the National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) and is to include: the date, time, and location of the encounter; the nature of the medical emergency, including the number of persons requiring emergency medical services and their conditions; the nature and type of any emergency medical treatment or services provided; the name and certification or professional licensure of each professional staffing the EMS provider unit during the encounter; whether any other EMS providers responded to the request for services; the outcome of the encounter, including whether each person receiving services was treated, refused additional treatment, was transported to a hospital or other health care facility or transferred to another EMS provider for further treatment, or died; and any other particulars of the encounter as may be relevant or required by the Commissioner of Health.
EMS dispatch centers will similarly be required to report to DOH, in a standardized format as required by the commissioner by regulation, certain information concerning each request for emergency medical services that is received by the dispatch center. Such information is to include: the date, time, and location of the request for services; the nature and circumstances of the emergency, as provided to the dispatch center; the identity of each EMS provider dispatched; and any other particulars of the request as may be relevant or required by the commissioner.
The commissioner will be required to establish a system to allow for the electronic reporting of EMS dispatch and response information pursuant to the bill. The DOH will be required to furnish to EMS providers and dispatchers, without charge, any software or programs developed by the DOH for accessing and using the electronic reporting system. Information is to be reported to the system in a format and at such intervals as the commissioner requires, except that, to the extent possible, the system is to be designed to interact with existing systems used
The electronic reporting system is to record and track data concerning the types of medical emergencies for which emergency medical services are requested, patterns in the timing and location of requests for emergency medical services, patterns in the type or nature of emergency medical services provided, and patterns in dispatch and response activity. Additionally, commencing 24 months after the effective date of the bill, the commissioner will have the option to track and record response times for EMS providers.
The bill additionally requires the commissioner to establish, maintain, and coordinate the activities of the New Jersey Emergency Medical Services Task Force. The purpose of the task force will be to support and enhance the provision of specialized response services, utilizing personnel and equipment to respond as requested, for both pre-planned and emergency events, including natural disasters, mass casualty incidents, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive events, in order to reduce morbidity and mortality through appropriate triage, incident management, and coordinated pre-hospital care and transportation. The membership of the task force is to represent all regions of the State and include first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, registered nurses, physicians, communications specialists, hospitals, agencies providing emergency medical responder and other emergency medical services, and communication centers that are utilized for the purpose of providing emergency medical services.
Enhanced EMS data tracking is essential to improving the EMS system of care in New Jersey. Throughout both the nation and the health care industry, technological innovations have enhanced the ability to track and utilize patient care data to improve outcomes and efficiencies and realize cost savings. In the context of emergency medical services, enhanced data tracking and reporting can expedite hospitals’ receipt of EMS triage reports, helping to ensure that health care professionals at the hospital are aware of an incoming patient’s treatment needs and are better prepared to provide appropriate care upon arrival. Additionally, enhanced data reporting can allow for the identification of trends in particular types of interventions, such as in the administration of opioid antidotes to overdose victims, which, in turn, can promote and foster improved emergency response. Furthermore, individual EMS squads can use their own data sets to optimize internal improvements and enhance squad performance.