Reno EMS Authority Wins CMS Innovation Grant

in Public Relations

Yesterday was an exciting day for the Reno EMS Authority (REMSA) in Reno, NV. A press conference was held by the leadership to formally announce they were awarded a Health Care Innovation Award for $9.9 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicad Services (CMS). As part of President Obama’s focus on health care reform and a legacy of former Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) founder and former CMS Director Dr. Donald Berwick, CMS created these awards similar to an innovation prize. Organizations are open to propose innovative concepts to CMS that aim to provide better care, better health, and lower per capita cost. REMSA is one of three EMS related grants to be awarded and the only major EMS system. Here is an abstract of their proposal.


Project Title: “REMSA Community Health Early Intervention Team (CHIT)”
Geographic Reach: Nevada
Funding Amount: $9,872,988
Estimated 3-Year Savings: $10,500,000

Summary: The Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority of Reno, Nevada, a non-profit provider of ground and air ambulance services, in partnership with Renown Medical Group, the University of Nevada-Reno School of Community Health Sciences, the Washoe County Health District, and the State of Nevada Office of Emergency Medical Services, is receiving an award to create a Community Health Early Intervention Team (CHIT) to respond to lower acuity and chronic disease situations in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Washoe County Nevada. CHIT is designed to reduce unnecessary ambulance responses, as well as hospital admissions and readmissions, while improving the patients’ health care. A central component to the success of CHIT is the adoption of a new non-emergency phone number to provide an alternative pathway to care for patients with lower acuity problems. Goals of this initiative include reductions in non-urgent emergency department visits, unreimbursed emergency department costs, hospital admissions, and hospital readmissions, as well as decreased hospital stays, fewer ambulance transports, and improved overall health care and continuity of care.

Over a three-year period, the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority’s program will train an estimated 22 workers and create an estimated 22 jobs. The new workforce will include community paramedics, communication specialists, an educator, continuous quality improvement coordinators, an outreach coordinator, an information technology specialist, a statistician, an administrative support specialist, and a project director.

REMSA also received some great attention from their local media and elected officials. You can read the story in the Reno Gazzette-Journal here and here.

This award is very exciting for Reno. It’s both a major opportunity for the community and the EMS system, but also to be a pioneer in developing an EMS approach to improving health care in a community. I’m proud to have had a long relationship with REMSA, which included training many of its leadership team and working with the system on several projects. They have strong leadership sponsorship, the will to improve, and many great ideas. Time to execute….