Iowa: Making Sure Help Arrives When Residents Call 911

People in Iowa were concerned that if they called 911 for emergency help, they might not get help in time. Iowa state law does not require towns or counties to provide emergency medical services (EMS), and EMS in rural areas receive very little funding. Many EMS providers in the state are volunteers and face challenges related to training and maintaining certification. To help solve this problem, the Iowa Department of Public Health’s (IDPH’s) Bureau of Emergency and Trauma Services uses Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funds to support EMS staff through various community-based training initiatives.

The funds received from the PHHS Block Grant provide initial training and continuing education for EMS providers. In addition, IDPH uses the PHHS Block Grant to support two EMS field coordinators, train local EMS staff, and collect data to improve EMS system performance and address the education needs of local EMS providers. In 2016, IDPH’s EMS field coordinators held workshops throughout the state, providing initial EMS training for about 200 new recruits. These new recruits will help fill gaps in the EMS volunteer workforce and replace EMS workers who are retiring.

Because of the PHHS Block Grant, more Iowans will have emergency medical services when they need them the most.

Story year: 2015

Photo: Ambulance

PHHS Block Grant funding provides much-needed support for emergency medical services to residents in Iowa.

Page last reviewed: April 17, 2018