NOVEMBER 12, 2018: Michigan Rural EMS announces recent funding awards


The Michigan Rural EMS Network (MiREMS) continues its support of rural EMS agencies and emergency first responders with funding from two grants from the federal Health Resources Services Administration, Office of Rural Health Policy.


One, a Rural Health Care Services Network Planning grant, will focus on behavioral health needs in two priority areas: 1) Increase effectiveness of prehospital response to emergency calls that involve a patient with behavioral health needs such as mental health issues or substance use disorders; 2) bridge gaps around intervention and referral for first responders who struggle with behavioral health issues. Grant dollars will also be used to establish two MiREMS Field Offices, one at Frederic Township Fire Department and one at Alpena Fire and EMS.


“The field offices will bring training and technical assistance resources to more rural EMS agencies, and will be a pilot for a regional needs assessment and planning process which will focus on mental health and substance abuse needs of the region,” stated Leslie Hall, executive director of MiREMS. “We also plan to add new field offices in other rural regions of Michigan, and to replicate the assessment and planning processes to address other health needs.”


The second grant, a Rural Communities Opioid Response initiative, will fund efforts to implement substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions designed to reduce opioid overdoses among rural populations. A focus of the project is increased participation of emergency first responders in these efforts. The project, Beyond the Save-Opioid Abuse Response Consortium, will serve Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and includes partners Dial Help, Inc.; Great Lakes Recovery Centers; and NorthCare Network, including the UP Communities that Care Coalitions.


Hall explained, “In addition to aligning existing efforts in the UP, this project will explore ways that first responders can take a more active role in the prevention of opioid addiction and overdoses; engage patients and family members in discussion about referral and treatment; and allow for data sharing that enables stakeholders to take more effective action to address the opioid epidemic.”


Through collaboration with agencies and providers across northern Michigan and the UP, these projects aim to make a significant impact on the health of rural Michigan residents. For more information on either of these grant programs, or Michigan Rural EMS Network, contact (989) 272-3290.