NHTSA | Office of EMS Director Jon Krohmer, MD, to Retire

NHTSA Office of EMS Director Jon Krohmer, MD, to Retire Later this Year

After 15 years of federal service, including the last five leading the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS, Jon Krohmer, MD, will be retiring in November.

During his tenure as director, Dr. Krohmer and the NHTSA Office of EMS team oversaw a number of milestones for the profession, including the creation of EMS Agenda 2050; major revisions to the National EMS Scope of Practice Model and the National EMS Education Standards; and improvements in the collection and use of EMS data through the expansion of the National EMS Information System. Soon after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Krohmer was tapped to lead the prehospital/911 team as part of the Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force.

“Dr. Krohmer’s tenure at NHTSA—especially over the last year and a half as EMS clinicians have faced one of the greatest public health challenges in generations—has been marked by real advances for the profession, thanks in no small part to his leadership,” said Nanda Srinivasan, NHTSA’s associate administrator for research and program development. “He was a true advocate at the federal level for state, tribal and local EMS systems, EMS clinicians, and patients.”

Prior to joining NHTSA, Dr. Krohmer had decades of experience as a local EMS medical director, initially in his home state of Michigan. His EMS career began as an EMT with a volunteer rescue squad. Like many EMS professionals, he was inspired by the television show Emergency! and by the emergence of the relatively new field of emergency medicine. He entered medical school at the University of Michigan knowing he wanted to make EMS his career. After becoming involved in EMS at the state and national level, he also served as president of the National Association of EMS Physicians from 1998 to 2000. In 2006, he came to Washington to serve as the first deputy chief medical officer for the Department of Homeland Security Office of Health Affairs and served in several other DHS roles before joining NHTSA in 2016.

“Working alongside EMS clinicians and the people who support them at local, state and national levels has been a privilege and a heck of a lot of fun,” said Dr. Krohmer. “The decision to leave NHTSA was difficult, but it’s made easier knowing that the team in the Office of EMS, our colleagues throughout the federal government, and leaders of EMS at state and local levels are committed to improving the lives of people in their communities and will continue to advance EMS systems everywhere.”

NHTSA will launch a national search for a new director for the Office of EMS.

“The example set by Dr. Krohmer will serve as a great model for the next director,” said Associate Administrator Srinivasan, “and the team of dedicated public servants at the Office of EMS has the experience and expertise to ensure a smooth transition.”

NEMSIS 2020 Public-Dataset Now Available

From NEMSIS on May 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEMSIS 2020 Public-Dataset Now Available

Salt Lake City, Utah, May 11, 2021 – The National Emergency Medical Services Information System Technical
Assistance Center (NEMSIS TAC) today announced the availability of the 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset,
the largest publicly available dataset of emergency medical service activations in the United States. With this
release, NEMSIS aims to improve understanding of, confidence in, and support for EMS data collection and
analysis that will lead to data being utilized more effectively to improve patient care.

“The 2020 dataset is a powerful asset for researchers looking into all manner of conditions that affect different
aspects of EMS service.,” said Dr. N. Clay Mann, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of
Utah School of Medicine and Principal Investigator for the NEMSIS Technical Assistance Center. “Hopefully, the
information gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic will help give EMS agencies valuable insight on their work
improving EMS services under all sorts of conditions.”

The 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset is a subset of the National EMS Database that is the repository for
EMS data collected from U.S. States and Territories. NEMSIS maintains the national standard for how patient
care information resulting from an emergency 9-1-1 call for medical assistance is collected. The dataset includes
43,488,767 EMS activations submitted by 12,319 EMS agencies servicing 50 states and territories.

Those interested in requesting a copy of the 2020 Public-Release Research Dataset can contact the NEMSIS TAC
and fill out a request form at their website https://nemsis.org/using-ems-data/request-research-data. A
password-protected USB drive containing the dataset, the 2020 NEMSIS Data User Manual, NEMSIS Data
Dictionary v3.4.0, Extended Data Definitions v3.4.0, and sample SAS code file will be sent via postal service.

ABOUT NEMSIS

The National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) is the national health information
exchange and database used to collect and store EMS data from states and territories. NEMSIS is a universal
standard for how patient care information resulting from an emergency 9-1-1 call for medical assistance is
collected. It is a collaborative system to improve patient care through the standardization, aggregation, and
utilization of point-of-care EMS data at a local, state, and national level.
NEMSIS is a program of NHTSA’s Office of EMS and is hosted at the University of Utah.

Video | TrueNorth Companies | Affiliate Member

Sponsored post by AAA affiliate member TrueNorth Companies

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HealthAffairs | Boston OHCA Outcomes During the Pandemic

From HealthAffairs

Worse Cardiac Arrest Outcomes During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Boston Can Be Attributed To Patient Reluctance To Seek Care

Abstract

Delays in seeking emergency care stemming from patient reluctance may explain the rise in cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and associated poor health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study we used emergency medical services (EMS) call data from the Boston, Massachusetts, area to describe the association between patients’ reluctance to call EMS for cardiac-related care and both excess out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence and related outcomes during the pandemic. During the initial COVID-19 wave, cardiac-related EMS calls decreased (−27.2 percent), calls with hospital transportation refusal increased (+32.5 percent), and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence increased (+35.5 percent) compared with historical baselines. After the initial wave, although cardiac-related calls remained lower (−17.2 percent), out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence remained elevated (+24.8 percent) despite fewer COVID-19 infections and relaxed public health advisories. Throughout Boston’s fourteen neighborhoods, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence was significantly associated with decreased cardiac-related calls, but not with COVID-19 infection rates. These findings suggest that patients were reluctant to obtain emergency care. Efforts are needed to ensure that patients seek timely care both during and after the pandemic to reduce potentially avoidable excess cardiovascular disease deaths.

More At HealthAffairs

Study | Rural hospital closures strain community ambulance services

Research Brief From the University of Michigan on May 25

Rural hospital closures force patients in affected communities to travel longer distances for specialized or emergency care. A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health shows that such closures place similar strain on emergency medical service (EMS) providers trying to get patients to the hospital or another facility as quickly as possible.

The study was led by Associate Professor Sayeh Nikpay and recently published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

The study found:

  • The average length of ambulance trips for municipal EMS agencies went up 22% in locations of recent rural hospital closures.

  • The average length of ambulance trips for private EMS agencies increased 10% in those areas.

  • Interfacility transfers and non-emergency EMS trips fell by 31% for all agencies.

  • The total number of trips did not change, likely because many agencies are already operating at full capacity and must prioritize emergency calls over transfers and non-emergency transportation after hospitals close.

Read Full Research Brief

CNN | Rural ambulance crews are running out of money and volunteers

From CNN on May 22, 2021

Rural ambulance crews are running out of money and volunteers. In some places, the fallout could be nobody responding to a 911 call

America’s rural ambulance services, often sustained by volunteers, are fighting for their survival — a crisis hastened by the impact of Covid-19.

More than one-third of all rural EMS are in danger of closing, according to Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. “The pandemic has further stretched the resources of our nation’s rural EMS.”

Read Full Article

ABC | Global microchip shortage impacting ambulance supply

May 21, 2021 | By Mina Kaji and Amanda Maile | Read Full Story

“Without those chassis, the production of ambulances essentially slows down dramatically,” American Ambulance Association Spokesman Mark Van Arnam said. “So that becomes a public safety issue.”

Chassis inventories were already at “historically low levels” due to coronavirus shutting down manufacturing plants, Van Arnam explained.

In order to make an ambulance, manufacturers need to first construct a chassis, or frame, to build it on.

“An ambulance chassis contains dozens and dozens of microchips — more microchips than the average F-150,” Van Arnam said.

Read Full Story

Rescue, Inc. | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Rescue, Inc.
Brattleboro, Vermont
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Rescue Inc is a private non-profit service in Southern Vermont. Founded in 1966 as a volunteer organization responding to local emergency calls, Rescue today is mission-driven; providing emergency medical treatment and transportation, specialized rescue services, community education, and transportation of critical patients between area hospitals. Out of two stations, and with a fleet of 9 ambulances and 3 response vehicles, we provide timely and efficient service in our five hundred square mile coverage area in Southern Vermont and Southwestern New Hampshire.

“EMS week gives us the chance to celebrate and spotlight the care, compassion, and skill our providers tirelessly demonstrate. Through long nights, bad weather, and now pandemics, our health care providers continue to inspire. On behalf of grateful patients and families, I thank you!”
– Drew Hazelton, Chief

2020 has brought the challenges of COVID-19 and supply line shortages, but also the development of new programs including EMS ultrasound, EMT hybrid courses, and a mobile vaccination program to our community.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Rescue Inc stepped in with resources to engage in critical work for public health. In collaboration with the health department, Rescue Inc provided expanded transport capabilities; transporting COVID positive persons to isolation facilities for recovery. Our crew of medical providers staffed pop-up testing sites and have screened thousands. As a way to limit exposure, our providers were called upon to facilitate mobile testing and would travel to test a single person or a whole family in their own homes. Once the vaccine became available, Rescue Inc designed a mobile vaccine trailer and worked with the Vermont Department of Health to facilitate clinics all over the state. In the spirit of our mission, we continue to bring healthcare on the road. We have vaccinated thousands – at schools, restaurants, race tracks, and more.

“EMS providers are educated members of your community that provide prehospital care that saves lives every day. When the tone drops they set aside everything and put themselves into emergency situations to care for those that they value; their community.”
~Lee Bookwalter, EMT

This year our community is feeding us for EMS Week! Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner for our duty crews are being provided by area restaurants for each day of this special week! Our vaccine trailer will be on the road all week, celebrating EMS by supporting the mission of health and wellness for our community.

“When we are called to a scene, whether it be an MVA, a stroke, or an anxiety attack, we legitimately just want to be there for someone during their time of need. Sometimes that means medical intervention, and sometimes just lending a hand to hold. Long story short, we just have love for people!”
~Zach Gilbeau, EMT

“I believe EMS is important because we are always there. No matter what day of the week, time of day, or what your emergency is, we will show up and take care of you.”
~Emily Wilson, Paramedic/Captain

Harris County Emergency Corps | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Harris County Emergency Corps
Houston, Texas
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Committed to preserving lives through clinical excellence, progressive medicine, and professional service, Harris County Emergency Corps (HCEC) is a premier EMS agency and the only Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services accredited agency with headquarters in Houston. HCEC was the first EMS agency formed in the state of Texas. Serving approximately 400,000 citizens, HECE provides 911 EMS operations in north Houston for Harris County Emergency Services District No. 1. HCEC also provides event medical coverage across Texas, trains clinicians with highly specialized classes, communicates with 11 other agencies through our innovative dispatch center and leads Houston’s first Community Health Paramedic Program.

Our organization changed, I believe, for the better. We overcame obstacles, and our remarkable team worked together like never before. I would like to thank each person involved for your commitment to our organization and the community we serve. I appreciate the work you do each and every day. — Jeremy Hyde, CEO

COVID-19 Response

Year 2020 was a year like no other. The COVID-19 Pandemic affected every person globally, and we are still living in a world of mask-wearing and sanitizing stations.

Our 9-1-1 call volumes were drastically reduced for the first few months of 2020. Almost immediately, PPE was on a national shortage. HCEC preserved resources and did not suffer any PPE shortage. Employees were never in jeopardy for not having protective equipment. Then COVID infection rates started increasing, which increased our 9-1-1 call volume to exceed any previous record in history.

During the time of significant volume increases, employees got the virus. Other staff stepped up to fill needed roles. Event staff helped fill in additional ambulances for COVID response. Field staff took a place in dispatch to help screen calls. The Dispatch Center and field staff worked together to ensure the calls were made appropriately with the right precautions.

EMS Week Celebrations

HCEC is hosting a reunion with a Pediatric CPR family, celebrating service awards, hosting a crawfish boil and hosting a blood drive.

“EMS continues to evolve beyond traditional ambulance transport. Not only do we serve as the community’s medical safety net, but we have also begun the transition to true mobile integrated health care. Progressive EMS agencies across the country are now involved with trauma and disease prevention, implementing community paramedic programs, and reducing preventable hospital admissions. EMS is a critical part of our health care system overhaul. We should be proud of where we are and where we are going!
-Corey Naranjo BSN, RN, LP, CP-C

“EMS is often the link between poor health and a healthy outcome. It can also quite literally be the difference between death and life of a person.” – Steven Nelson MHA, LP, In-Charge Paramedic,

“EMS is a vital corner of the first responder triangle. As EMS personnel we not only increase the survivability of major incidents, but we also bring knowledge to the public to help all in need.” -Blake King EMT-P, FTO-1, In-Charge Paramedic

Waterbury Ambulance | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

Waterbury Ambulance
Waterbury, Vermont
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Waterbury Ambulance Service was founded in 1971, since then, we’ve grown significantly, but at our core we are still a group of highly skilled, committed volunteers and staff, ready at a moment’s notice to save a life, or just lend a helping hand. We provide 911 coverage to the towns of Waterbury, Duxbury and parts of Moretown, Vermont as well as mutual aid to our neighboring communities. Waterbury Ambulance provide interfacility transfers when we have the staff available. We have two ambulances, 15 advanced EMTs, 19 Emergency Medical Technicians, and four drivers. We also provide CPR, First Aid, Car Seat Fitting and Stop the Bleed Trainings.

Waterbury Ambulance also supports The Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team which was founded in 2002, in order to lead the search and rescue of patients injured or lost in areas of Vermont where an ambulance is not able to readily access. Waterbury Backcountry Rescue Team is composed of a specially trained crew of rescuers and EMTs, who locate, extricate, and field treat patients, bringing them to an area which can be accessed by ambulance.

“This year has been a remarkable one. I am inspired by the way Waterbury Ambulance’s Team has stepped up in uncertain times to ensure the safety of themselves and our community”
–Mark Podgwaite, Executive Director

Covid-19 impacted Waterbury Ambulance by initially creating additional training and safety requirements. The team responded quickly ensuring that we provide the best possible care to our community during a scary time. The State of Vermont reached out to Waterbury Ambulance asking if we could support the state in Covid-19 testing. Waterbury Ambulance rose to the occasion by teaming up with two other ambulance services and a local ski patrol to provide testing 7 days a week at three different locations throughout our region. To date Waterbury Ambulance has provided tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests to the community. Waterbury Ambulance then hit the road providing vaccines to home-bound Vermonters. We have also helped the State of Vermont staff vaccine clinics and National Guard Clinics.

“EMS is so vitally important because we provide frontline medical care for our communities of neighbors, family, friends, colleagues and even those we haven’t met yet. We do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Whether it’s a car crash with injuries, heart attack, overdose, or a pandemic, our communities depend on us to jump in and give the best care possible at any moment’s notice.” -Kristen Hamel, AEMT

“I believe that EMS is vital because we all need someone in our times of need to be that outside person to be kind, caring, and compassionate to our personal emergencies. Someone to validate our physical & emotional pain/suffering/ distress. Someone who you can trust with your life to get you the care you need, advocative for you, and ease your worries.” -Vicki Fielding, AEMT

Waterbury Ambulance is celebrating EMS week by supporting and providing Vaccination clinics around the state, covering 911 calls and providing 7-day a week Covid testing.

“EMS plays a key role into the prevention of death and disease processes in a community. The stronger the EMS organization, the better the community can grow and flourish” -Tom Leeman, AEMT

“EMS is important to me because we as ems providers are a small light at the beginning of a very dark tunnel for some people” -Kayla Reed, Driver/Future EMT

 

East Baton Rouge EMS | 2021 EMS Week Featured Service

East Baton Rouge EMS
Baton Rouge, Lousiana
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About East Baton Rouge EMS

East Baton Rouge EMS is a municipal service that originated on August 6th, 1982. The Department is funded by a property tax and insurance billing. EBREMS is the primary ALS provider for the parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Unlike most systems, all 911 calls in the parish are first answered by EBREMS Medics. East Baton Rouge Parish is 456sq/mi and is comprised of the City of Baton Rouge and the towns of Zachary, Baker and Central. With a total population +440,000, East Baton Rouge is the Capitol of the State of Louisiana and is the home of two major Universities.

EBREMS operates 11 EMS stations with 24 ambulances, 20 sprint vehicles, 1 mass casualty unit and 3 ASAP carts. There are 138 Field Medics, 9 Shift supervisors, Division managers, and 32 communications officers. EBREMS responds to approximately 64,000 calls per year. In addition to responding to 911 calls, EBREMS also offers Telemedicine, Event coverage, HAZ-MAT, CISM, Bicycle, and Special Response Teams. A new Bariatric unit has just been purchased along with 16 new ambulances. The new fleet will go into operation in July.

Our COVID-19 Response

A response plan to COVID was discussed in March 2020. The first order was to acquire enough PPE for our medics in the field. PPE included P-100 masks, goggles, and isolation kits. Two ambulances were converted into “COVID units” by using plastic sheeting to block the walk-through access of the units and the ALS cabinet. The units were stocked with an abundance of disinfectant and PPE. 12 medics volunteered to work on these units and only respond to COVID-related calls. The intention was to isolate the cab of the truck from the patient compartment, and limit exposure to the rest of the field by only using the assigned medics for these types of calls. 911 Operators began asking COVID screening questions, and would relay the information to the responding unit. Every patient was provided a surgical mask and the use of nebulizers was banned due to the aerosolization.

The Mayor declared a local public health emergency on March 13th. Schools, restaurants, bars, and non-essential businesses were closed and a “stay at home order” was implemented. 911 Operators began to see a surge in calls from the public asking COVID-related questions. This overwhelming number of non-emergent calls led to a Public Service campaign to inform the public not to call 911 for COVID questions. A new 211 number was utilized for these types of calls. Several testing sites opened throughout the parish, including one at the EBREMS Headquarters. Despite a large number of tests given, the percentage of positive tests was only about 7%.

East Baton Rouge lifted the Emergency Declaration in May 2020. Schools remained closed for a while, but offered virtual learning. Restaurants, Bars, Churches and non-essential businesses opened with limited capacity and mandated face mask requirements. Today EBR parish is 100% open, and EMS operation is back to pre-COVID status with the exception of continued use of face masks on every response.

“It is my belief that Baton Rouge EMS has some of the finest medics in the country and you would be hard pressed to find a better group of people to work with. Their dedication and professionalism through this last year’s pandemic has been nothing short of impressive. They care for their patients and their fellow first responders and treat them like family. It is an honor to work with all the medics here in Baton Rouge, and they deserve recognitions for the hard job that they do.”
-Chad Guillot
EMS Director
East Baton Rouge Parish EMS

How We Celebrate EMS Week

Every year our Public Information Officers work hard to promote the Department by doing interviews on Morning News shows, Submitting stories to the newspaper, and posting on Social Media. Our Paramedic Association purchases EMS Week gifts for the employees and also funds the annual Award Ceremony that is always held during EMS Week. The Administration Department provides lunch to the crews on each shift, and local hospitals also provide snacks and food at their hospitals for the field medics.

“We are a family-oriented department, and we treat the community like our own”
-Hillary Duncan, Paramedic

“We strive to meet the goals of our mission statement and continually adapt to fulfill the needs of our community”
-Otha Henry, Training Officer

“As EMS providers we value our community”
-Kerri Avara, Unit Commander

Podcast | EMS One-Stop on Rural EMS Funding

In this episode of EMS One-Stop With Rob Lawrence, Rob is joined by Justin Grohs, general manager at Great Falls Emergency Services, Montana. Grohs also serves the American Ambulance Association as chair of the Rural Task Force.
Together, they discuss the realities, challenges, and funding of rural EMS, where staffing and financial stressors have been further exacerbated by the pandemic.

Allina Health EMS | EMS Week 2021 Featured Service

Allina Health EMS
St. Paul, Minnesota
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Founded in 1920, the 600+ employees of Allina Health EMS serves over one million citizens in the communities surrounding the Minneapolis/St. Paul vicinity with 911, Critical Care and Interfacility transports. In addition, we provide Community Paramedics, Tactical Paramedics, EMS Education and Special Event support to the communities we serve. Our Communications Center answers one in ten 911 calls throughout the state of Minnesota, not only providing dispatching services for Allina Health EMS, but other EMS services throughout the state.

Our staff rose (and continues to rise) to the challenges that COVID-19 presents to us. Some parted with facial hair! The collaboration was evident when staff helped to inform our processes and procedures for PPE and communication at the beginning of COVID-19. Each day we were learning something new, whether it was PPE procedures, hospital information such as entrance and transfer of patient care changes or services available to support our essential working employees. Our Communications Center began revising questions asked of our 911 callers to help determine potential risks prior to the arrival of our ambulance crew and to inform the level of PPE needed. Whether it was a 911 response or an interfacility transfer, we continued to improve our processes so our staff was protected and prepared when responding to our patients.
Our Education department tested and transitioned to online platforms for continued internal education and our external educators came into the bases to provide Just in Time Training (JITT) to our staff so the practical application of equipment and PPE changes were able to be understood and practiced prior to use. Our EMS maintenance and inventory technicians helped to implement changes to our ambulances to protect both patients and staff from the virus through protective devices and the task of keeping up with equipment and stocking changes.

Our Emergency Operations Center strived to provide timely updates and information, which we did in traditional written and email form. In addition, to support a mobile and 24/7 workforce, we used technology to provide information through videos and update posts via a closed social media group for our employees.

During the start of the pandemic, a significant event took place in our area. We supported our local EMS and Public Safety partners as we experienced civil unrest as a result of the death of George Floyd. This time was demanding physically pandemic, the unrest and the summer increased our responses and it was emotionally demanding as we saw the toll both of these events took on our staff and our communities.

While COVID became a part of our regular responses, we moved into 2021 and experienced a workplace shooting at one of our clinics that our EMS staff responds to on a regular basis. The response to this event, the level of teamwork and dedication of our staff to providing exceptional care, highlights what makes Allina Health EMS one of the leaders in Minnesota EMS.

“Allina Health EMS providers show up everyday to be ready to respond to the needs of their community, whether it is a multi-vehicle crash on the freeway, a cardiac arrest of a grandparent or a new mom who is just scared and needs reassurance that her baby is okay. Our providers go above and beyond each day to take exceptional care of their patients and their communities. We are proud of everyone who supports the care of our communities and are looking forward to celebrating EMS Week 2021 with the team.” Susan Long, Vice President of Operations

EMS is important on many levels, but being there during a critical time of someone’s life is the most important to me. Being there to providing that voice of comfort to those who really need it, is the most rewarding part of all.
Kymberly Markgraf, EMT

Courage is being scared to death, but jumping in anyway. or Success is knowing another has breathed easier because of your help.
Kelly Pischke, Paramedic

EMS Week Celebrations

Food and fellowship are the highlights of this year’s EMS Week at Allina Health EMS! Physical distancing guidelines prevented us from having our typical EMS gatherings last year and hampered our ability to celebrate our Centennial Year of Service. We are looking forward to recognizing our staff in everyday interaction but especially during their week with safety measures in place during meals and activities during the week

NHTSA EMS.gov | EMS Week Video

From NHTSA’s Office of EMS on May 17, 2021

This week, May 16-22, 2021, we once again recognize the people of EMS by celebrating National EMS Week. We hope you’ll take a minute to watch this special message from the entire team here at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of EMS.


This year’s EMS Week theme, “This is EMS: Caring for our Communities,” couldn’t be more appropriate. The past year has been a challenge, but it has also reminded people across the nation just how valuable emergency medical services systems—and most important, clinicians—are to our communities. This nation is in debt to all of the EMS clinicians and the people behind the scenes who show up every day with true professionalism and dedication.

From all of us here at the Office of EMS, NHTSA, and the Department of Transportation: Thank you.

St. Charles County Ambulance District | EMS Week 2021 Featured Service

St. Charles County Ambulance District
St. Peters, Missouri
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St. Charles County Ambulance District (SCCAD) began operations in 1975 with three ambulances covering a largely rural 592 square mile service area. Over the past 45 years, the community has grown considerably; today, the population eclipses 400,000 residents. SCCAD, which currently employs 195 full-time staff and 70 part-time employees, has kept pace with the growth, adding stations and ambulances in strategic locations to ensure that response times to 911 emergencies remain short. The District currently staffs 19 advanced life support units from 16 stations serving all municipalities and unincorporated areas of the county. In addition to 911 response, SCCAD offers non-emergency inter-facility transport, which is staffed separately from the 911 division. In 2019, the District implemented a successful critical care ground transport program to help high-acuity patients get from our county’s community hospitals to the larger healthcare centers in St. Louis city and county.

Over the past decade, SCCAD has developed and implemented a number of innovative initiatives to better meet the evolving healthcare needs of our community. These include a multi-faceted Mobile Integrated Health (community paramedic) program, which focuses on readmission avoidance in partnership with several hospitals in our area, and SCCAD high-utilization patients identified by our paramedics. In addition, the MIH team collaborates with commercial insurers to offer services to their patients in the county. Also developed in recent years was the American Ambulance Association AMBY award-winning Substance Use Recovery Response Team, which sees specially-trained paramedics helping facilitate overdose patients’ entry into treatment programs if they’re willing to seek help. In 2018, the District launched a successful behavioral health telemedicine program in partnership with Behavioral Health Response. Most recently, SCCAD was one of only three EMS organizations in the state of Missouri selected to pilot the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Emergency Triage, Treat & Transport (ET3) program.

While COVID-19 most certainly presented operational challenges, it also offered EMS providers an opportunity to showcase our industry’s collective ability to adapt in the face of adverse conditions, and develop innovative, mission-driven solutions to meet the mobile health needs of the communities we serve.

From the onset, SCCAD embraced the challenge, working to develop strategies that would meet the needs of our employees, fellow first responders, and the community at large. To this end, our leadership team has worked in tandem with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. Our Deputy Chiefs of Operations and Special Operations were added to the County’s incident command structure, and worked out of the County’s EOC to ensure a coordinated response. Meanwhile, our Deputy Chief Medical Officer worked tirelessly to develop aggressive contract tracing and quarantine procedures to ensure the safety of our team members, and worked to regularly push updated information out to crews. Under his direction, our training team spent time carefully reviewing donning/doffing and other safety protocols with team members.

In spring of last year, St. Charles County, like most other communities, struggled to scale up COVID-19 testing processes to meet demand. Residents experiencing symptoms were at times unable to get appointments for several days. Given the number of potential exposures that could result from a single infected paramedic, firefighter, or police officer, SCCAD’s MIH Team launched their first effort: a first responder testing program. The testing site enabled local police and fire agencies, along with SCCAD employees, to obtain a testing appointment in an expedited fashion. When local partners added more testing capacity toward autumn, we were able to scale down the testing effort.

Around the same time, Pfizer and Moderna began announcing initial success in clinical trials with their vaccines. With signs pointing toward emergency use authorization being granted by the FDA before year-end, the SCCAD team once again began strategizing on ways to make an impact. In conference with Public Health, it was determined that we would initially take point on first responder vaccinations, then move into other segments of the population while concurrently assisting with large-scale vaccination events being hosted by Public Health. Some of the vulnerable populations we’ve vaccinated have included elderly citizens residing at independent living senior apartments, homebound individuals, and those residing in rural areas of our county.

Though the past 14 months have been a stressful, challenging time, they’ve also shed a spotlight on the strength, determination, and character of many within our industry. In communities large and small across our state and nation, EMS is playing a critical role in getting things back to normal.

“Each and every day, our team of skilled professionals embody our values of dedication, compassion, accountability, integrity and respect. Through interactions on 911 calls, non-emergency transfers, and community safety programs, they are promoting best practices to integrated, community healthcare and enhancing the reputation not only of our organization, but also of the EMS industry.”
Kelly Cope, Chief

“Today’s healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, and paramedics are increasingly being relied upon to deliver the right treatment at the right place, time, and cost. Our team has risen to the occasion, developing and implementing several unique programs to address the unique needs of our community in recent years.”
Dave Lewis, Assistant Chief of Administration

“As is the case in many communities, our paramedics frequently find themselves serving not only a clinical role, but also one of counseling/social services. Our team has helped members of our community navigate everything from bed bug infestations to food instability. No matter the circumstances, patient advocacy is a critical role fulfilled by EMS.”
Kimberlyn Tihen, Mobile Integrated Health Division Captain

“EMS plays an important role in communities every day, but that role is heightened during significant and/or unique events. We’re relied upon to be part of the overall solution, projecting a sense of calm and reassurance. I’m grateful to work for an organization that invests heavily in training and equipment for these unique scenarios, giving me the tools I need to serve residents when the need arises.”
Rees Remington, Battalion Chief

To celebrate EMS Week, we’re patronizing a local small business in our community to show our appreciation to the paramedics and support staff of SCCAD. Prados, an upscale locally-owned Mexican cantina located within our community, will be preparing meal kits on May 17, 19 and 21 so each of our crews can enjoy a handcrafted lunch. Our leadership team will report to Prados at 11 a.m. on each of the aforementioned days, and will deliver the kits to our 16 stations across the county. Of course, our training, service center, maintenance, administration and other non-clinical team members are included.

In addition, we’ll be utilizing our social media feeds to highlight EMS Week and the work of our team.

Presidential Proclamation for EMS Week 2021

From Whitehouse.gov’s Briefing Room on Presidential Actions

A Proclamation on Emergency Medical Services Week, 2021

Every day, in communities across the country, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers put themselves on the line to save lives, safeguard dangerous situations, and deliver hope to families and communities in crisis.  With selflessness, professionalism, and grace under fire, they provide essential care — never more so than during our battle with COVID-19 over the past year.  This year’s Emergency Medical Services Week theme, “THIS IS EMS:  Caring for Our Communities,” honors our heroic frontline workers who provide vital emergency medical care and ease the burden of crisis for Americans in need of help.

Through service, compassion, and dedication, EMS providers represent the very best of the American spirit.  In the face of unprecedented challenges, their expertise, endurance, and hard work have been a literal lifeline for families in every community.  Whether responding to the enormous suffering caused by COVID-19, the devastation of extreme climate events, or daily medical emergencies, EMS providers — many of whom are volunteers — prepare, sacrifice, and put others ahead of themselves.  Not only do they assume the heightened risks associated with emergency care during a pandemic, but they also spend countless hours away from families and friends in order to serve their communities.

In the face of these challenges, EMS providers have not hesitated to take on new roles, including supporting COVID-19 testing, therapeutics, and vaccination sites.  To help support the women and men who do this vital work, my American Rescue Plan included $100 million to support the mental well-being — including the mental health — of our health care professionals, paraprofessionals, public safety officers, and EMS providers.  My Administration has also made it a priority to ensure that our State, local, Tribal, and territorial partners have the resources they need so that EMS providers are trained and equipped to respond to public health emergencies safely and effectively, now and in the future.

During Emergency Medical Services Week, we extend our deepest gratitude to all EMS providers.  Their courage, selflessness, and commitment are extraordinary examples of what it means to serve this great country.  We also extend our sincere condolences to the loved ones of EMS providers who have given their lives in the line of duty.  This week and every week, I urge all Americans to express their appreciation for our Nation’s EMS providers — and to bring greater safety to their lives, and to all of our lives, by getting vaccinated to help bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 16 through May 22, 2021, as Emergency Medical Services Week.  I call upon public officials, doctors, nurses, paramedics, Emergency Medical Service providers, and all the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

 JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.