Matheson Bill Renews Unique Program to Improve Emergency Care for Kids
Congressman Jim Matheson, together with California Congresswoman Lois Capps and New York Congressman Peter King, has introduced legislation to continue a unique federal program designed to improve emergency medical services for children. Matheson's bipartisan bill-HR 2464-- reauthorizes the federal Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program. The introduction coincides with Emergency Medical Services for Children Day nationally.
"There are over 30 million child and teen visits annually to our nation's emergency rooms. Many are designed and equipped for adult health problems, rather than children's," said Matheson. "Only this program-EMSC--exists to promote improvements among health care facilities and staffs that handle many life and death cases for these small patients."
Matheson noted that for the past 22 years, the EMSC program has funded critical improvements, including training programs, equipment and knowledge-sharing. He said that only about 6 percent of hospitals currently have available the pediatric supplies deemed essential by pediatric specialists. Matheson said the program is responsible for expanding and improving care, resulting in lives saved and better outcomes for many children and their families.
"As a former school nurse I know that our kids have unique needs when it comes to obtaining medical care," said Capps, a nurse and a member of the Health Subcommittee. "Unfortunately most of our health care facilities, particularly emergency care facilities, have a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn't adequately address the unique needs of child patients. This important legislation provides our health care facilities with the resources necessary to care for our kids."
Utah Dr. Edward Clark, Primary Children's Medical Center Medical Director, praised the move.
"Injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children over 1 year of age. In Utah, where much of the state is rural and emergency services can be miles away, it is vital that emergency personnel know how to deliver the best care quickly and expertly. The EMSC program is essential to ensure our emergency personnel are expertly trained in delivery of pediatric emergency care-which in turn assures the future health of our children."