EMS Systems Division

The EMS Systems Division coordinates the local EMS systems, the statewide trauma system, and the California Poison Control System. They establish regulations and guidelines for local EMS agencies and review and approve local EMS plans to ensure they meet minimum standards. This division also manages the state’s EMS data collection, quality assurance, dispatch and communication standards and EMS for Children efforts.

Local EMS Agency Information: The EMS Authority provides statewide coordination and leadership for the planning, development, and implementation of local EMS systems. California has 33 local EMS systems that are providing emergency medical services for California’s 58 counties. Seven regional EMS systems and twenty-six single county agencies provide the services. Regional systems are usually comprised of small, more rural, less-populated counties and single-county systems generally exist in the larger and more urban counties.

Multicounty EMS Agency Information: Of the seven regional EMS systems in California, six are designated as multicounty EMS agencies and are providing emergency medical services for 30 counties within California.  A multicounty EMS agency is an entity of three or more counties that serve rural areas with extensive tourism; however, the configuration may not fully achieve regionalization as an efficient EMS system, as determined by the EMS Authority.  The agency must be designated by its member counties as the local EMS agency.

Trauma Systems and Information: The EMS Authority provides statewide coordination and leadership for the planning, development, and implementation of a State Trauma Plan. The EMS Authority responsibilities also include the development of regulations for local trauma care systems and trauma centers, the provision of technical assistance to LEMSAs developing, implementing, or evaluating components of a local trauma care system, and the review and approval of local Trauma Plans to ensure compliance with the Health and Safety Code and the California Code of Regulations.

STEMI: The following LEMSAs are developing or have implemented a STEMI system: Alameda, Central California, Coastal Valleys, Contra Costa, Inland Counties, Los Angeles, Marin, Merced, NorCal, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Ventura EMS.

Stroke Care: Some local EMS agencies, which may include one or more counties, have developed STEMI and/or Stroke Care Systems. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is conducting a detailed survey on STEMI and Stroke system approaches. The following LEMSAs are developing/implementing an approach to Stroke Care: Alameda, Central California, Coastal Valleys, Contra Costa, Inland Counties, Los Angeles, Marin, Merced, NorCal, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Ventura EMS.

EMSA employees are members of the Stroke Work Group co-convened by the ASA and the California Department of Public Health Stroke Prevention Program. The work group considers ways in which to improve stroke outcomes statewide.

EMS for Children: The overall goal of the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program is to ensure that acutely ill and injured children have access to high quality, coordinated, and comprehensive emergency and critical care services appropriate for children’s special needs.

The EMS Authority, using a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and with the assistance of subcommittees of experts in various aspects of pediatric care, has developed guidelines, standards, and key products that make up a comprehensive model for EMSC services. The EMSC Model provides a continuum of care, beginning with the detection of an illness or injury to emergency department care and rehabilitation.

EMS Communications: The EMS Authority is responsible for EMS communication systems planning and improving interoperability communication among EMS participants and uniformity for emergency medical dispatch through medical control of each local EMS agency Medical Director.

EMS Planning: Both single and multi-county local EMS agencies must develop and submit a five-year EMS plan and annual updates to the EMS Authority for a local emergency medical services system according to the state system standards and guidelines. The purpose of the local EMS plans is to meet community EMS needs through the effective utilization of local resources.

Transportation: The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Act charged the EMS Authority in 1980 with providing oversight of the planning, implementation, and evaluation of local EMS agency (LEMSA) systems. This includes the review of local transportation plans for ground and air providers, and oversight of 338 ambulance zones/areas. Exclusivity of an ambulance zone/area is achieved through a request for proposal or grandfathering via Health and Safety Code, Section 1797.224.

Ambulance Patient Offload Time (APOT): The EMS Authority was mandated to develop a statewide methodology for calculating and reporting ambulance patient offload times by a LEMSA. This statewide, standard methodology was based on input received from stakeholders, including but not limited to: hospitals, LEMSAs, public and private EMS providers.

California Emergency Medical Services Information Systems (CEMSIS): The California Emergency Medical Services Information System, also known as CEMSIS, is a healthcare data demonstration project. The goal of CEMSIS is to collect information about emergency medical care provided to patients by 9-1-1 system responders, ambulance companies, and hospitals across California. It is estimated that CEMSIS will catalogue over 3 million EMS events per year.

California Health Information Exchange (HIE): The goal of HIE programs is to facilitate secure access to health care data by appropriate individuals to provide safe, efficient, effective, equitable, patient-centered care. HIE relies on a bi-directional flow of data and should cover all aspects of the patient care continuum including dispatch, field care, transport, emergency department, hospital admission, hospital discharge, and practitioner care. Connecting EMS to the broader health care system through health information exchange will lead to better patient care, more efficient transitions of care, improved outcomes and experiences, and stronger disaster resilience.

Quality Improvement:The EMS Authority is responsible for providing a standardized approach for identifying the root causes of problems and take steps to correct the process and recognize excellence in performance and delivery of care.

California Poison Control: The EMS Authority develops statewide standards for poison control services and poison centers, designates and monitors the poison control services contractor, evaluates poison control system operations and site reviews of poison center answering points, provides technical assistance to poison control center administrators, and provides assistance to the poison control services contractor in identifying sources of funding to support poison control services operations.

Illness and Injury Prevention: The EMS Authority considers Injury and Illness Prevention part of its mission and coordinates activities with the California Department of Public Health and the Office of Traffic Safety.  The State’s EMS for Children and Trauma Programs encourage injury and illness prevention activities within the 33 local EMS agencies and their specialty care facilities.  Trauma Centers and Pediatric Hospitals work with the State and local EMS agencies to reach out to the community with prevention strategies for all ages and provide information on existing prevention programs.  These programs are linked with the EMS Authority’s website.