Tag: Cataldo Ambulance

EMS Week Featured Service | Cataldo Ambulance

Cataldo Ambulance
Somerville, Massachusetts
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Meet Cataldo Ambulance

Cataldo Ambulance Service was founded in 1977, and serves Eastern Massachusetts, providing 911 emergency response and EMD services, non-emergency ALS, BLS, and chair car transportation, and EMS education and training. In 2019 Cataldo was awarded the first license in Massachusetts for mobile integrated healthcare (MIH), and in 2020, was selected as a Massachusetts provider for the innovative new ET3 initiative. Cataldo is proud to have 800 staff and a fleet of 99 ambulances and 6 SmartCare Mobile Integrated Healthcare vehicles.

The Cataldo Ambulance COVID-19 Response

It was early on during the Massachusetts State of Emergency that the local healthcare community realized the value of having mobile integrated healthcare resources available to support assessing and testing patients, as well as managing mildly symptomatic COVID+ patients at home. Our SmartCare MIH team was suddenly in high demand and actively supporting efforts for many major hospitals and healthcare organizations throughout the Greater Boston area.

The Cataldo Ambulance Leadership Perspective

“I have never been more proud of our staff. Our front line responders continue to step up and support our communities with the highest level of professionalism and clinical excellence imaginable. Our Communications Center and support staff are equally impressive in their dedication and commitment.”
Diana Cataldo, Founder

Frontline Voices from Cataldo Ambulance

“When that 911 call comes in, it’s pretty important that it gets handled the right way and the right level of support is deployed. Those critical seconds spent fielding a call can make all the difference in the outcome for a patient.”

Tim Gorman, Emergency Medical Dispatcher

“I started out as an EMT.  Now I’m a Paramedic, sharing what I’ve learned in the field with others. I absolutely believe that what we do every day makes a difference to the people we serve.”

Ryan Kelley, Paramedic

How Cataldo Ambulance Celebrates EMS Week

Our organization will acknowledge EMS Week in May, but our formal celebration will be when we can be together in August. This coincides with our 43rd anniversary,  gives us something to look forward to and will allow us to share our appreciation with more of our team, and hopefully, in a less stressful environment.

Cataldo Ambulance Service Wellness Couch to 5K

In October 2016, Kelli Megill, a Human Resources Generalist at AAA member company, Cataldo Ambulance Service based in Somerville, MA, attended the safety symposium hosted by their worker’s compensation carrier. Much of the symposium focused on why employees get hurt and what employers can do to help stop the trend. A reoccurring thread in all of the most effective injury prevention programs was promoting the fitness and wellness of an organization’s employees.

Kelli decided to launch what has been the most embraced wellness initiative in the 40 year history of the company. The Cataldo Couch to 5K Program began about 8 weeks ago and culminating with the 5K road race/walk on June 5th. Kelli pitched the program to the other members of the Human Resources team and Ron Quaranto, the Chief Operating Officer (AAA Region 1 Director). The program now has over 100 employees participating in the program which is more than just the run/walk on June 4th.

Cataldo has tackled wellness events in the past, including the company hockey team, Spartan races, and other chartable road races. The company, which provides emergency services to several of the communities along the Boston Marathon route, sponsored several employees to run the 26.2 mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston. However, they have always struggled with engaging more than a small group of its workforce.

The team assembled a small committee comprised of the COO and other department heads whom had expressed great excitement for the project. They decided that that they would choose a local charitable 5k and encourage teams to raise funds while improving their own health. Most Couch to 5k programs require between 8 and 9 weeks of training. The committee searched for race dates that were approximately 12 weeks out giving them enough time to promote the program and garner excitement and participation. Cataldo committed to paying for every participant’s registration fee and would give every participant a running shirt. Cataldo reached out to their company sponsored health insurance carrier to see if any portion of the registration fee could be covered by their “Wellness” fund. The carrier not only agreed that the registration fees eligible for reimbursement but also the run shirts.

Cataldo sent out a company-wide email promoting the event and encouraging employees to sign up. The initial email, give a sign up deadline of 8 days. It explained that the training would mostly be individual but encourage some to be “Team Captains”. Team captains would stay in contact with their team members to motivate and answer questions or give tips. The initial goal was to get 30 people to sign up which was surpassed in a couple of days. By the 8 day deadline, they had nearly doubled their initial goal of 30 and set a new goal for 100 participants. After the first few registrants, it became a bit of a competition with team captains recruiting members. The response has been fantastic with not only employees but their family members joining as well. The insurance broker, inspired by what the company was doing, registered a team as well.

As with most multi-week projects, enthusiasm can wane. At week 5, so the committee posed Week 5 challenge to all of our participants. If the participant sent a picture of them doing some sort of physical activity 5 times that week, they were entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift card for a sporting goods store. The committee has been getting great pictures and videos from many of the participants over the following weeks. In addition, they created a closed Facebook group that several participants have joined and post weekly “motivational” pictures and emails that are distributed to all participating in the program. The committee has several employees who have express interest in extending a Running Club after the 5k on June 4th.

Human Resources leaders in EMS have struggled to get employees to embrace wellness initiatives. Despite our employees witnessing the health related risks of poor nutritional choices and lack of physical activity every day, many wellness initiatives still fail to gain traction with our employees. Many wellness programs offer premium differentials to encourage participation but often this is not enough to motivate participation. Research is very clear that employees who focus on good diet, exercise, and regular sleep experience less illness, absenteeism, injuries, stress, and long term health related problems.

Like Cataldo, ambulance services need to persist in their efforts to find the wellness program that works for their employees and company. Remember, this is not a “one size fits all” mentality. Premium differentials, health screenings, healthy food options in vending machines, fitness club discounts, employee assistance programs, exercise clubs, are just a few options. EMS organizations need to commit to these programs once you find the ones that resonate with your employees.

Cataldo is not exactly sure why this program, versus many of the others it has tried, has caught on with so many of their employees and beyond. When asked what she thought “moved the needle” this time around, Kelli Megill said that they really made it fun by creating a community of individuals all pulling towards the same goal while raising funds for a great cause.

Spotlight: Ron Quaranto, Cataldo Ambulance

ron-quaranto-photoRon Quaranto
Chief Operating Officer, Cataldo Ambulance Service
Vice President, Massachusetts Ambulance Association
AAA Board, Director Region 1
Somerville, MA

Tell us a little about yourself, please.

I grew up in Natick, Massachusetts and graduated Natick High School in 1988. I am married and have two children; my daughter, Courtney, is 19 and my son, Justin, is 16. I like to exercise. I enjoy hockey, which I play two days a week, and I run 3–4 days a week.

How did you come to work in the industry? How long have you been involved?

In 1989, I began my career at Chaulk Ambulance in Natick, Massachusetts as a chair car driver while taking their EMT course. I worked as an EMT for many years and became a base Supervisor. I went to Paramedic School in 1994, and was certified as a Nationally Registered Paramedic in 1995. I then became a Field Supervisor for AMR and quickly moved up the ranks to Director of Operations overseeing operations from Boston to Worcester. In 2006 I moved over to Cataldo Ambulance Service, where I am currently employed as their COO.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy helping people. I like being in my position to help our staff, especially assuring they have the necessary tools and skill set to treat our patient to the best of their ability. I have always enjoyed being in Operations because you never know what the day is going to throw at you. I enjoy staying busy.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

I would say at this time one of the biggest professional challenges I have is making sure we have enough staff to service our patients and accounts to the best of our ability. I also find it challenging to stay connected to our 825 employees spread out over 20 base locations. I feel that staying in touch with employees and having regular face time and good communication with the staff is critical.

What is your typical day like?

My typical day is making sure all departments that report to me have the tools they need to perform their assigned responsibilities. I never have a day where I find I have nothing to do. Follow-through is a priority to me, so making sure tasks are complete and we are responsive to our employees and customers is paramount. I am always looking ahead to see what we can do to raise the bar and become a better service.

How has participation in AAA membership and advocacy helped your organization?

Participation in the AAA has helped me and our service tremendously. Having access to the resources provided by the AAA as well as having the network of EMS professionals to reach out to share best practices has been extremely valuable to me.

Cataldo Ambulance’s Ron Quaranto on Mobile Integrated Health

As a current mobile integrated health provider, we recognize the values of an MIH program which most importantly provides quality patient care to those in need, often in the comfort of their own homes. This is often done under the direction of the patient’s primary care physician in conjunction with the patient’s healthcare team. This allows for the patient to maintain their quality of life while receiving the medical attention they need—and ultimately reducing the healthcare expenses of hospitalization.

Ron Quaranto
COO, Cataldo Ambulance Service

“Save Lives, Not Seconds” member editorial

Don’t miss the fantastic member-written editorial, Save lives, not seconds, in Wednesday’s Boston Globe. Submitted by Cataldo Ambulance’s Tom Kimball, it gets to the heart of many issues with using response times as the only performance metric. (Emphasis below is ours.)

Many cities and towns in Massachusetts still judge the performance of their ambulance services using metrics like response times, which can miss the point. An additional two minutes waiting for an ambulance will rarely make a difference for a trauma patient facing emergency surgery that may take hours.

Patient outcome is a more valuable measure of whether a medical service is doing right by people. In many areas of health care these days, it is the gold standard, a key factor in determining how much insurance companies pay service providers. Changing the terms of ambulance companies’ contracts to make good patient outcomes the goal could greatly improve the quality of medical care across the state — and save lives.

Read the full editorial over at the Boston Globe.