What is the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services

The following is a brief description of the different components of the State EMS system. These components were statutorily created to help organize and oversee the system and help assure that timely and appropriate emergency medical care is available statewide.

The Bureau of Emergency Medical Services is located within the NYS Department of Health, Office of Health Systems Management.

The Bureau is responsible for the general oversight of the EMS system statewide.

It does this in many ways:

  • providing both financial and staff support to the State EMS Council and Regional EMS Councils,
  • coordinates and develops contracts with the EMS Program Agencies to assist in the development of local EMS systems,
  • approves all EMT certification courses and assists in development of curricula,
  • approves county EMS plans supported by state aid,
  • conduct examinations and issue individual EMT certification,
  • administers the state aid program that provides free training leading to certification,
  • maintains a pre-hospital care data information system for use in evaluating the quality of the system,
  • administers the trauma program, including the State Trauma Advisory Committee,
  • designation of trauma centers and a Trauma Registry utilized for QI purposes,
  • approve and manage a variety of legislatively and federally funded EMS grants,
  • responsible for issuing agency certifications, conducting periodic inspections of ambulance services and investigations of complaints regarding the conduct of certified providers or services.


State EMS Council

The State EMS Council meets four times a year in Albany area. These meetings are open to the public and a calendar of meetings is posted on these pages. Its membership consists of representatives from the 18 Regional Councils and 15 representatives appointed by the commissioner from various organizations and interest in the EMS community. The Council assists the Department in providing leadership, developing rules and regulations and general guidelines for the operation of the EMS system. See Section 3002 of Article 30 for statutory responsibilities.

Subcommittees for State EMS Council:

  • Budget:
    Prepares budget recommendation for EMS in NYS for presentation to and adoption by the NYS EMS Council prior to transmittal to the Commissioner of Health, as per Article 30 of the NYS Public Health Law.
  • Education and Training:
    Addresses issues of certification and recertification of EMS providers, review course objectives, course curricula, conduct, clinical requirements, scope of practice and examination issues.
  • EMS Systems:
    Addresses issues of system development in New York State such as the determination of need process, Part 800 regulations, and mutual aid systems. Issues discussed include General Municipal Law vs. Public Health Law, liability for EMS agencies, on-scene coordination and communications.
  • Evaluation:
    Improve emergency care in New York State by assessing the state EMS system and its components. The Evaluation Committee is reviewing the existing data collection system to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Developed generic QI guidelines for statewide release.
  • Legislative:
    Reviews proposed federal and state legislation pertinent to EMS.
  • Public Information, Education and Relations:
    Addresses issues of public awareness of EMS in NYS and develops and coordinates the NYS EMS awards presented at the annual conference each Fall. Award recipients are recognized for clinical, educational and administrative excellence in EMS. State Emergency Medical Advisory Committee (SEMAC)

State Emergency Medical Advisory Committee (SEMAC)

A committee of the State EMS Council composed of voting physician representatives from the REMACs and others with demonstrated knowledge and experience in Emergency Medical Services. It was seated in August of 1995 and is responsible for developing and recommending to the State EMS Council statewide minimum standards for medical control, treatment, triage, transportation protocols and the use of regulated medical devices and drugs by certified EMS personnel. This committee may also issue advisory guidelines in any of the above areas with the Commissioner's consent. Their authority and responsibilities are outlined in Section 3002-a of Article 30.

Subcommittees for the SEMAC are:

  • Protocol:
    This committee is charged with developing statewide standards for treatment, triage and transportation protocols. It is reviewing regional protocols and recently approved statewide standards for protocol development at the regional level. It is currently developing a statewide ALS protocol. This committee works in cooperation with the Medical Standards committee.
  • Quality Improvement:
    This committee is charged with assisting the council and the department in the development of quality improvement systems for EMS. It is currently reviewing the development of the regionally based pre-hospital care information system which will allow regions to review and issue reports on local system quality based on pre-hospital care data collected by the department. This committee works in cooperation with the evaluation committee of the State EMS Council.

Regional EMS Council

There are 18 Regional EMS Councils. Each council is comprised of representatives of local ambulance services, physicians, nurses, hospitals and other EMS organizations. The county EMS coordinator shall serve as an ex-officio member of the council. The purpose of the councils are to allow for and foster regional cooperation and organization of local EMS systems. The council's regional authority and responsibilities are outlined in Section 3003 of Article 30. This organization is your direct link to the state EMS council and to the department. Your participation is welcome and encouraged.

EMS Program Agency

There are currently 19 EMS Program Agencies. The department funds these agencies to assist Regional EMS Councils and the department in activities to support and facilitate development of regional emergency medical service systems. While these organizations have no specific statutory authority they were created to provide for available day to day professional and clerical staff needed to implement and support the activities of the Regional EMS Councils and REMACs. These organizations and their role is described in Section 3003-a of Article 30.

Regional Medical Advisory Committees (REMAC)

There are currently 14 REMACs statewide. The primary purpose of these committees is to allow for local medical direction and guidance in the development of regional EMS systems. These committees are a committee of the Regional EMS Council but may be representative of more than one council with local agreement to do so. They are composed of five or more physicians and representatives from the council, hospitals and basic and advanced life support providers. They have the authority to develop policies, procedures, and triage, treatment and transportation protocols which are consistent with the SEMAC, and which address specific local conditions. Their authority and responsibilities are outlined in Section 3004-a of Article 30.