Minnesota medics, EMS drug shortages and takeovers and we’ve got another special interview segment from EMS today 2012, if that’s what you’re looking for, you found it right here on the MedicCast.
First Licensed Community Paramedics
We’ll kickoff the news this week with a segment from Minnesota. In Hennepin County, Minnesota, they are starting a new program with community paramedics, creating the first licensed community paramedics in the country. We’ve talked about community paramedics in the past, talking with Chris Montera and his ground-breaking program out of Western Eagle County, Colorado. We also talked with Gary Wingrove and about the formation and goals of the International Roundtable for Community Paramedicine.
Find our other community paramedic episodes on the MedicCast here.
EMS Drug Shortages
In the next article from North Carolina, they’re talking about EMS medication shortages. These are drug shortages hospitals and EMS agencies are seeing all over the country and I know we are experiencing them here in Maryland. One of the issues we have is trying to find ways to either replace the drugs we have with an alternative medication. While this article points out there is a Fentanyl shortage, Maryland uses morphine for primary pain management and we are substituting Fentanyl for Morphine because of Morphine shortages. In North Carolina, according to this article, paramedics are administering medications that are recently expired in order to provide some care for their patients.
EMS Agencies Taken Over
In the final article this week, we are seeing quite a few agencies providing EMS services closing their doors, especially in rural environments with low call volumes. In the face of rising fuel prices and other challenges, they were struggling to remain open without the volume to give them a consistent billing resource or profitability to maintain the ambulances. So a lot of communities are struggling with this and in many cases County agencies or local municipalities are taking over the duties to fulfill the needs of these communities.
In Johnston County, North Carolina, three EMS agencies were taken over by the county, although not without some bumps in the road. Taking over EMS operations is never easy, not even when the crews and vehicles just switch patches and logos. It can be more challenging when one of the agencies is unable to simply turn over capital assets.
Pat Songer Innovates Rural Critical Care
Our colleague Chris Montera from the EMS Garage joins us this week as the host of another interview from the EMS 10 Awards at EMS Today 2012 back in March. Pat Songer is the Director of EMS at Humboldt General Hospital in Winnemucca, Nevada. Pat’s innovative management of a rural EMS system that strives to provide care most often associated with larger metropolitan areas.
Pat Songer and his team achieved its five-year goal of establishing a critical care paramedic ground system. Over the past five years, Pat has kept to a strict schedule of improvements that has included major ambulance and equipment upgrades and dedicated staff training. As a result, patient transport times have been reduced to an average of two hours, 15 minutes by ground or ground/air combinations, compared to an average of three hours, 30 minutes by helicopter. The hospital’s transport costs have dropped from $7.8 million to $1.4 million a year.
Contact the MedicCast
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