Pediatric patients account for approximately 30 million U.S. ED visits, yet many emergency
departments are unprepared to manage ill or injured children.
Public Health Service. Availability of pediatric services and equipment in emergency
departments: United States, 2002-2003 (Advance Data 367; PHS 2006-1250). Washington:
Public Health Service.
In the 1980s, Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC), a federally sponsored
program jointly administered through the Maternal & Child Health Bureau and the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, began providing grant funding to support pediatric
emergency care initiatives at the state and local levels.
Emergency Medical Services for Children
Two states, Illinois and Tennessee, have received funding for EMSC projects for many
years. These programs each recognized the need for oversight to ensure that hospital
emergency departments were prepared to care for pediatric patients. Utilizing professional
standards developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of
Emergency Physicians, and ENA, each state facilitated multidisciplinary consensus
meetings that included consumers to develop facility categorization and approval and
recognition programs that recommend, monitor, and applaud best practices for the care
of children requiring emergency care. Both states include a site survey process to
evaluate compliance with key criteria that include clinician qualifications and continuing
education; policies, procedures, and treatment protocols; quality improvement; and
equipment, supplies, and medications. The 2 states differ in their approach to the
process; Tennessee’s program is grounded in legislative authority, while Illinois’
program is based on voluntary application, with oversight through state regulations.