Ask the CAMTS| Volume 25, ISSUE 1, P6, January 2006

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Revising standards

      The Commission on Accreditation for Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) Standards Committee begins working on revisions as soon as the last edition has been published. In 2004, we published the 6th edition of accreditation standards and plan to publish the 7th edition in 2006. Standards are revised and published every 2 to 3 years to stay current with the changes not only in medical advancements but also in aviation, communications, and generally in the way business is conducted. With the significant focus on air medical accidents over the past year, we are emphasizing safety and operations in the coming revisions.
      When the accreditation standards committee met in 2005 during the Air Medical Transport Conference, the following general topics and concepts were discussed based on comments from board members, member organizations, and individuals:
      • Business ethics and competition
      • Vision, mission, and value statements
      • Compliance issues
      • Triage guidelines for appropriate use of helicopters
      • Utilization review—medical appropriateness
      • Long-range fixed-wing transports
      • Brokering and subcontracting fixed-wing transports
      • Safety—risk assessment
      • Management direction and support
      • Management interface between medical, aviation, ground operators
      • Education matrix revisions
      The committee also discussed implementation of new standards. In the past, programs applying for accreditation had up to 6 months to submit a Program Information Form (PIF) under the previous standards after new standards were published. For example, when new standards were published on October 2004, the previous PIF, corresponding to the October 2002 5th edition, was effective until April 2005. After April 1, only forms corresponding to the 2004 standards were accepted. The forms will still be accepted according to this time frame, but a program submitting a PIF during this 6-month window will also receive a supplemental PIF (addressing new standards) so that we have everyone moving toward compliance with current standards.
      The accreditation standards are available as a free download from the CAMTS website, It is the responsibility of accredited services to be knowledgeable of and working toward compliance with new standards, even if accredited under a previous edition. Programs are expected to be in compliance throughout their accreditation certification period—not just when preparing for a site visit. For that reason, it is very important that programs applying for accreditation and currently accredited programs actively participate in revising and creating appropriate standards. The standards committee is open, and each revision is posted on the website for comments and feedback.
      Please review each draft as it is posted on the website until July 2006, when the board plans to approve the changes before they are set for publication in September 2006. We welcome your comments and suggestions!