Oregon Office of Rural Health

Emergency Medical Services Programs

Emergency Medical Services

ORH assists rural and frontier EMS providers and agencies with funding from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Flexibility Grant and ORH’s Helping EMS in Rural Oregon (HERO) Campaign. EMS is provided by volunteers in much of rural Oregon. Their service requires time off from work and away from their families and great personal expense for training. For this reason, ORH offers a yearly opportunity to apply for funding to support the training and retention of rural volunteer EMS service personnel.

Current Grants, Projects, and Opportunities

EMS equipment grants from the Oregon Office of Rural Health and The Roundhouse Foundation support life-saving agencies and the communities they serve in Clatsop, Douglas, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, and Polk counties.

PORTLAND, Ore. – (Nov. 8, 2023) The Roundhouse Foundation recently partnered with the Oregon Office of Rural Health (ORH) to award equipment grants to six emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, located throughout rural Oregon.

Access to appropriate and functioning EMS equipment is essential to assuring quality responses to patients who call EMS for help. However, rural EMS agencies’ budgets are often strapped for cash due to low call volumes, low reimbursement rates, and other circumstances. At the same time, funding for EMS equipment is often unavailable through federal, state, and foundation sources.

“Early on, the ORH committed to supporting rural EMS agencies,” says ORH director Robert Duehmig. “We recognize the critical services our rural EMS agencies provide and also understand they are often under-resourced to provide these services where and when people need them the most. We have offered small training grants and other training opportunities to EMS agencies for nearly 15 years. However, we’ve heard many times over that EMS agencies have difficulty acquiring new or updated equipment due to limited financial resources.”

ORH was able to expand its support to rural EMS agencies by providing a one-time equipment grant opportunity in 2022 to three EMS agencies. During the process, ORH received over 50 applications from EMS agencies from across the state with requests totaling nearly $1 million. However, ORH only had limited funds to give. After learning of the need, The Roundhouse Foundation offered to help ORH fund an additional six equipment grants.

“We fund efforts that support rural Oregonians in meeting their basic needs,” says Erin Borla, The Roundhouse Foundation’s executive director. “Providing access to life-saving equipment that EMS agencies and rural communities need was a natural fit for our foundation.”

This newest round of funding went to EMS agencies located in Clatsop, Douglas, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, and Polk counties. By and large, equipment requests from these agencies were focused on automatic chest compressors, which replace human compressors in cardiac arrest events. The device helps relieve EMS crews, with limited staff, from rotating into compressions.

“We are so pleased to partner with The Roundhouse Foundation to assist rural EMS agencies in obtaining equipment that is desperately needed,” added Duehmig. “Their generosity and vision to create positive change through strategic collaborations makes a real difference for our work and rural communities.”

About the Oregon Office of Rural Health

The Oregon Office of Rural Health is Oregon’s State Office of Rural Health, based at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore. The organization serves all rural communities in the state and focuses on improving the quality, availability, and accessibility of health care for rural Oregonians. More information can be found at www.ohsu.edu/oregon-office-of-rural-health.

About the Roundhouse Foundation

The Roundhouse Foundation is a private family foundation based in Sisters, Ore. that supports creative solutions to the unique challenges associated with rural culture and the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. For more information, call 541-904-0700 or visit their website at www.RoundhouseFoundation.org.

CARES is a web-based system to track information about OHCA where resuscitation is attempted by an emergency responder. The registry contains demographic, therapeutic and outcome measures, and data are used to help communities benchmark and improve their performance for OHCA. ORH provided support in 2018 for Oregon EMS agencies to continue reporting data to the registry.

CAH and EMS Partnered Improvement Project

2022 Critical Access Hospital (CAH) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Partnered Improvement Project

Request for Grant Proposals: CAH and EMS Partnered Improvement Project

The Oregon Office of Rural Health (ORH) is pleased to offer a grant opportunity for two Oregon CAH and a partner EMS agency, with funding of $6,000.

Interested CAH-EMS partners should propose project work seeking to improve identified outcomes through strengthened coordination between pre-hospital and hospital providers, policies and/or programs. Applicants may propose to expand existing programming or implement work. Proposals may target outcomes for care that is transferred from pre-hospital EMS to hospital providers, or from hospital providers to an EMS-based program, such as a Community Paramedic. Submitted project budgets should not exceed $6,000.

Grantee Requirements

  • Complete progress report telephone calls and/or meetings with ORH staff.
  • Identify a minimum of two target improvement measures and include baseline benchmarking in their proposal.
  • Provide one written mid-cycle status summary report.
  • Work with the ORH staff to submit a final summary and evaluation report.
  • Provide final budget and spending tracking for all funded activities.

Application Instructions

Applicants please submit:  

The proposal should be submitted in a single PDF document via email by January 6, 2023 to Sarah Andersen at ansarah@ohsu.edu. All submissions will receive a confirmation of receipt.

Important Dates and Deadlines

  • Application Deadline:  5 p.m. PST January 6, 2023
  • Awardee Announcement: January 20, 2023
  • Project Timeline: January 20, 2023 through August 31, 2023
  • Mid-Cycle Status Report Due: May 15, 2023
  • Final Report Due: August 31, 2023

For more information, please contact Sarah Andersen| 503-444-1570

This award is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $697,883 with 100% funded by HRSA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit: https://www.hrsa.gov/grants/manage/acknowledgehrsafunding.

Please visit our HERO page for more information.

The forum is a twice-yearly gathering of Oregon EMS Supervising Physicians/Medical Directors and Agency Managers focused on collective discussion, education and networking to enhance EMS in Oregon.

In 2019, the Oregon Office of Rural Health conducted a Listening Tour of rural and frontier EMS agencies to discuss challenges to operational stability and successes with creating sustainable programming. The Listening Tour included 36 partners representing licensed transporting and non-transporting EMS and fire agencies, Critical Access and Rural Hospitals, county and public health agencies and law enforcement. The report summarizes and describes the challenges consistently raised during the Listening Tour; chiefly, the recruitment, training and retention of personnel and revenue and billing issues.

ORH provides a full scholarship for a rural or frontier EMS provider to attend this conference each April. Contact Sarah Andersen | 503-444-1570 | to nominate an awardee.

In collaboration with Oregon Health Authority EMS and Trauma Systems (OHA EMS/TS) and Healthcare Services Solutions (formerly the Idaho Simulation Network), ORH sponsors simulated trauma events for Critical Access Hospitals and their EMS partners. Events are awarded via a competitive grant opportunity, with the number of awards based on funding availability. The next application cycle is expected to open in fall 2020.

The following documents provide details about what Simulation-based Training Events entail and anticipated planning and staff involvement required by facilities wishing to participate:

Recent ORH-supported EMS-focus research and quality improvement work includes:

  • review of EMS agency protocols for Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA), ST-segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) & Stroke in Oregon that assessed the inclusion of current evidence-based practices.
  • Research on the development of standardization for Oregon Ambulance Service Area (ASA) plans and identification of an accessible online platform for submission of the plans.
  • An investigation of EMS treatment disparities for trauma and pain, including a rural breakout.

Oregon Resources

The 2005 Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 31 which grants up to $250 in personal income tax credit to eligible EMSPs who volunteer their services to rural Oregon communities.

Federal and National Resources


Sarah Andersen | 503-444-1570