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EMS agencies begin reporting to state

GALLIPOLIS – Beginning this month, all emergency medical service organizations in the state of Ohio are required to report all EMS incidents to the Emergency Medical Services Incidence Reporting System.

Thursday, January 10, 2002

GALLIPOLIS – Beginning this month, all emergency medical service organizations in the state of Ohio are required to report all EMS incidents to the Emergency Medical Services Incidence Reporting System.

The system, which is operated and maintained by the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), requires providers of EMS services to electronically transmit data elements outlined by the state’s EMS division. There are a total of 91 elements listed, 51 of which are considered "essential," 17 "conditional" and 23 listed for "local use only."

Senate Bill 98, introduced in November of 1992, required incident reporting in an effort to establish comprehensive reporting standards. It modified the Ohio Revised Code to include a requirement that the State EMS Board create an EMS incidence reporting system to collect information regarding the delivery of EMS in Ohio and how frequent EMS is used.

Though the bill was introduced more than nine years ago, it has taken the state this long to iron out the particulars and implement the reporting system, Eric Kuhn, director of Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service, said.

"It is a lot of extra work, but we knew it was coming," he said. "A lot of the information (required by the state) we have been capturing all along, but some of it is new."

For example, EMS agencies are now required to include the patient’s driver’s license number and list other agencies responding to the scene of the emergency by a number issued by the state rather than by name. Both of these, Kuhn said, are elements SEOEMS has not included in run reports in the past.

Even though there are some new requirements, Kuhn said SEOEMS is "ahead of the game" when compared to some other EMS providers.

He said SEOEMS’ electronic information specialist, John Coon, has taken a computer program he initially wrote for billing and run purposes and modified it to include the additional information now required by the state. Kuhn said each of the 13 locations in the SEOEMS district – including the five stations in Lawrence County – already sends run reports to the headquarters in Gallipolis twice a week.

He said lot of the smaller EMS providers, such as volunteer fire departments also running ambulance services, may not be ready to take on such a venture.

Kuhn feels, initially, it will cost field employees several more minutes to fill out the reports. When they get proficient at the system, though, he says it will "probably take an additional 3 or 4 minutes" to fill them out.

"Certainly, change comes with some grumbling, and I’m sure some of our people aren’t happy (with the additional work)," Kuhn said. "The state has a reason for wanting this additional data, but it’s more than what we’re used to capturing."