Enhancing the pediatric readiness of the nation’s emergency departments (EDs) to care for children is of utmost importance to improve the quality of care and outcomes for ill or injured children. To achieve this goal, the US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the EMS for Children Innovation and Improvement Center have partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Emergency Nurses Association to support a pediatric quality improvement collaborative to recognize medical facilities based on pediatric readiness. The collaborative began in April 2016 and efforts will be ongoing. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia are actively participating in the collaborative to promote pediatric readiness efforts at the state level: CO, CT, FL, IN, KS, KY, MI, NM, NY, OK, PA, SC, TX. The goal of the collaborative is to work with existing emergency care systems to improve and encourage pediatric readiness based on compliance with the 2009 joint policy statement and accompanying checklist, “Guidelines for Care of Children in the Emergency Department (ED).”
In 2013 the National Pediatric Readiness Project provided a baseline assessment of the nation’s capacity to care for children in an emergency. This assessment identified that ED readiness to meet the needs of children varies across the U.S. Furthermore, the majority of children are cared for in community and rural facilities rather than specialized hospitals such as children’s hospitals. Pediatric readiness programs assist state and territory-specific teams in working closely with stakeholders to identify criteria and characteristics, and to supply resources such as policies, procedures, and equipment, to best meet the needs of children within their own state or territory. The HRSA EMSC Program appreciates the ongoing support of state, territorial, national partners and organizations as these pediatric medical recognition programs are developed and implemented.