State successes: Georgia EMSC progresses toward pediatric facility recognition

  • Published February 28, 2022
Emergency Care

Data from the pediatric readiness survey indicates that EDs in Georgia are well-prepared to care for children: In 2013, the median score for participating EDs in the state was 71% (the national median was 69%). Through the designation of “Pediatric Readiness Centers,” the EMSC Georgia State Partnership program hopes to further engage hospitals in improving emergency care for children statewide.

“A key hurdle is to initially establish the permanence of the designation process in State Rules and Regulations,” says Norma Campbell, Program Director, Georgia EMSC. “Next, and ongoing, is the development of the criteria needed to be designated as a Pediatric Readiness Center with levels I, II, or III. The highest readiness is level I.”

Representatives are meeting monthly in working committees to help develop criteria and engage institution and organizational leadership to determine the best methods of rollout and marketing for the initiative. Efforts will also be made to test and fine-tune the criteria by piloting it at interested institutions. Representatives involved in the effort include a wide range of organizations:

● Georgia EMSC,

● Georgia American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),

● Georgia College of Emergency Physicians,

● Georgia Pediatric Health Improvement Coalition,

● Georgia Hospital Association,

● Georgia Emergency Nurses Association,

● Georgia Trauma Commission,

● Georgia State Office of Rural Health,

● Children's Hospital of Georgia,

● Children's Healthcare of Atlanta,

● Piedmont Columbus Regional Children's Hospital,

and many others.

“Clear tier designation allows prehospital personnel to better identify the appropriate facility for a specific pediatric case,” says Natalie E. Lane, MD, Chair, Georgia AAP Emergency Medicine Committee. “It also empowers families and pediatricians to better understand the level of care available in their area. The ‘time is now’ to strengthen collective knowledge about this program and encourage support for its adoption and ultimate success.”

To support the Pediatric Readiness Centers Designation initiative, the Georgia State Office of Rural Health (SORH) will work with Georgia’s 67 small rural and critical access hospitals to promote the value of the designation process, encourage participation, and assist rural hospitals with meeting readiness elements. During a five-year funding period, the SORH will dedicate approximately $430,000 annually to fund two rural-specific grant programs. To guide marketing efforts around the initiative, one grant has been awarded to Georgia Southern University to conduct a pediatric-specific needs and resources evaluation for counties in which a rural hospital is located. The second grant will fund the coordination and delivery of continuing education programs in rural communities, ensuring ED staff and local providers have no-cost access to the programs.

Pediatric facility recognition programs currently exist in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

EMSC State Partnerships are integral in nearly all of these recognition programs.

Learn more about Georgia EMSC here.