CARESTAR Foundation Grants EMSA $1.5 Million for COVID-19 Pandemic Support



Berkeley, California – April 20, 2020 – The CARESTAR Foundation has released $1.5 million in support of a critical health information technology project to California’s Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA).


The funds were an accelerated grant for Phase Two of EMSA’s critical project in Health Information Technology for EMS, or HITEMS. The technology gives first responders, as well as trauma centers and emergency departments, shared ability to access vital patient information right at their fingertips. It is a massive health information connection effort, engaging a broad range of EMS agencies, hospitals, local EMSAs and technology vendors across California.


With the support, EMSA moved ahead immediately to expand their HITEMS program, deploying electronic multi-directional health information exchange programs throughout the state. 

“It is increasingly clear to us that the directive of our mission is more needed than ever, as we support our partners doing their best for California’s vulnerable populations as we weather the extreme health care challenges of this season.”

“In a doubling-down of our organizational mission, we were happy to deliver support that is critical during this pandemic for our partners on the front lines of EMS care,” says Tanir Ami, CEO of the CARESTAR Foundation.


According to the Office of Health Information Exchange of California’s EMSA, the grant supports three components that focus on integration, connectivity and data sharing: +EMS, (which allows rapid search, alert, file and reconcile data functions); PULSE (Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies – collecting vital continuity- of-care documents) and POLST, (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment – including Do Not Resuscitate directives.)


EMSA activated the PULSE system on March 26, preparing deployment teams to provide just-in-time training and equipment at alternate care facilities throughout California. Part of the additional funding allows EMSA to implement and expand connections to cover more regions of the state, with additional partners in 11 counties. Paramedics and hospital emergency room staff will use these connections daily.


EMSA is also conducting emergency hires for several thousand new medical providers to add to teams while procuring resources and wrap-around services to support new alternative care sites – developing training materials and hosting remote live training.

According to the California EMSA, the CARESTAR grant supports improved health outcomes and reduces disparities for the population by:

  1. Increasing the quality of initial emergency care in the field

  2. Providing vital health information, i.e., medications or allergies, to providers during a disaster

  3. Facilitating an accurate, comprehensive handoff of patients from ambulance to hospital

  4. Decreasing time to diagnosis and treatment, i.e., by transmitting ECG data to the hospital before the patient arrives

  5. Better respecting patient end-of-life wishes by making POLST forms available to EMS providers

  6. Reducing cost for duplication of tests or unwanted treatment in emergency rooms

CARESTAR aims to work closely with its grantee partners to meet emerging needs during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and is committed to work particularly in support of first responders and care delivery personnel and systems.


Tanir Ami adds, “It is increasingly clear to us that the directive of our mission is more needed than ever, as we support our partners doing their best for California’s vulnerable populations as we weather the extreme health care challenges of this season”.


About the CARESTAR Foundation

The CARESTAR Foundation was founded as a result of the sale of CALSTAR (California Shock Trauma Air Rescue) and honors CALSTAR’S legacy and lifesaving work in the field of emergency and trauma care. CARESTAR’s mission is to strengthen connections and foster partnerships in California’s injury prevention, emergency response, and trauma care landscape to improve outcomes for all Californians.