NHTSA: Public Comment Requested on Revision of the EMS Agenda for the Future

When industry pioneers and experts collaborated on the development of the Emergency Medical Services Agenda for the Future two decades ago, they set forth a vision for the future of EMS system improvements. Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on behalf of the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS), announced an effort to seek input from the public on the planned revision of the EMS Agenda for the Future that will guide the development and growth of the next generation of U.S. EMS systems.

FICEMS has released a Request for Information, which is the first step in creating a new Agenda that will envision the continued advancement of EMS systems. Results of this request will be shared publicly and will inform a collaborative and community-based process to revise the Agenda beginning in late 2016.

The EMS Agenda for the Future described a vision of data-driven, evidence-based EMS systems integrated with their community partners. Much of that vision was realized over the past 20 years due to the motivation, planning and commitment of the organizations which took part in its development. Now, with healthcare rapidly changing and EMS facing new challenges, from the threat of terrorism to the burden of chronic illness, it is time for the profession to once again come together and establish a path to guide EMS into the future.

NHTSA, on behalf of FICEMS, invites all interested parties, including the general public, industry trade groups, EMS professionals, public and private agencies, academic institutions, and government officials, to submit comments and to reply to specific questions in the RFI. The responses will play a critical role in the development of the new Agenda beginning in late 2016. All topics relevant to EMS systems can be addressed, including:

•    Promoting a culture of safety among EMS personnel, agencies and organizations
•    How the 1996 Agenda has been used by the EMS community to improve systems of care
•    Potential changes that will impact EMS systems over the next 30 years
•    How the new Agenda can contribute to improved EMS for children, data collection and evidence-based improvements
•    Methods for innovating finance models and improving coordination for mass casualty incident preparedness and response  

Agencies, associations and individuals are encouraged to provide input during the 90-day public comment period from April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016. Comments may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal by going online ( and clicking “Submit a Formal Comment,” as well as by mail or hand delivery to: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Room W12-140, Washington, DC, 20590.

The Office of Emergency Medical Services will lead a webinar during EMS Week on May 16th at 2pm EST with a panel of several authors of the 1996 EMS Agenda for the Future. They will look back at a few of the profession’s most significant accomplishments over the last two decades, followed by a conversation about how the industry can evolve over the next 30 years. Register online to learn how associations, agencies and individuals can provide input in the planning process for the 2017 anticipated revision of the Agenda.

For further information, contact Gamunu Wijetung with the NHTSA Office of EMS.