NAEMT’s EMS Corporate Engagement Council recently released their quarterly newsletter for the second quarter of 2022 on July 8th which focuses on important and relevant EMS news and updates including those related to the Supporting and Improving Rural EMS Needs (SIREN) Act. This grant program is geared towards rural EMS agencies and provides funding to purchase equipment, provide training, and meet other critical needs. The campaign for this grant program has been led by NAEMT, IAFC, and IAFF over the last few years to combat challenges facing rural EMS systems and is also referred to as the Rural EMS Equipment and Training Assistance (REMSTEA) grant program.
In its first year, Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, the funding level for this program was $5 million. In FY2021, SIREN grants were funded at $5.5 million and the latest bill that was released for FY2022 included funding for $7.5 million. Over the last few months, NAEMT has connected with congressional offices to push for increased funding for this grant program. NAEMT recently announced that the House of Representatives revealed its version of the FY2023 funding bill and SIREN grants are funded at $10 million. This is the highest level in the House bill since the program’s inception.
This substantial increase in funding reflects the growing support among Members of Congress. Next, there will be a vote on the bill by the full House of Representatives and the Senate will also create its own version of the bill. Ultimately, the two must be reconciled and passed before these funds become available. NAEMT plans to continue to push for the maximum amount of funding for this program and will keep providing updates.
NAEMT’s newsletter continues on to share additional EMS funding updates by reporting discussions they are having with Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) regarding draft legislation to set up a workforce development grant program for EMS agencies. NAEMT also informs that in June, Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) introduced H.R. 8163, the Improving Trauma Systems and Emergency Care Act which would create grant programs to improve trauma care, and specifically allows for EMS agencies to be eligible to receive these funds. Although this bill has not been passed yet and is still in its early stages, it is a step forward in gaining recognition for EMS.