Strengths of EMS: Existing Government Structure

Strengths of EMS: Existing Government Structure

Dan Sullivan, the founder of The Strategic Coach Inc. and creator of the Strategic Coach® Program, developed a methodology for assessment named D.O.S., which stands for Dangers, Opportunities, and Strengths.

Strengths encompass our unique skills and abilities, opportunities offer the possibility to gain something, while dangers refer to things we are afraid of losing. In the upcoming blog series, EMERGICON will utilize this methodology to assess the Emergency Medical Services industry and offer insight on how to mitigate dangers, capitalize on opportunities, and develop the strengths that are most impactful.

Strengths of EMS: Existing Government Structure

What does EMS look like in the era of healthcare reform? Local governments that can adjust to the changing healthcare landscape realize several benefits as they transition from a reactive to a proactive model of healthcare delivery. Not only does it provide better care at a lower cost but also prevents unnecessary ambulance transports, reduces visits to the emergency department, and truly meets the needs of the community.

Fort Worth, Texas, provides a compelling example of changes taking place in a local government. The local ambulance service in Fort Worth changed its name from MedStar EMS to MedStar Mobile Healthcare. This transition reflects the new model of handling nonemergency calls that don’t require a trip to the emergency department.

MedStar Mobile Healthcare also created community health programs that produce both positive patient outcomes and financial benefits. One example is its EMS loyalty program to reduce frequent users’ visits to EMS and emergency departments. In the program, paramedics treat and counsel high utilizers of the emergency department. Patients reduced their emergency department use by nearly 85 percent – and saved more than $7 million in emergency department charges — in the first year after graduating from the program.

Big State with Regional Councils

Texas has a comprehensive government structure to handle emergency medical services for its 29 million residents. The state is divided into 22 Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) that provide trauma system oversight within a specific Trauma Service Area in the state. These Councils are not structured the same, but they do provide the same objective: to reduce trauma incidents through education, data collection, data analysis, and performance improvement.

The Regional Advisory Councils develop, implement, and monitor an EMS trauma system plan for their region. According to the RAC Operations Guidelines, trauma facilities are a critical piece of a well-developed trauma system. Trauma funding is distributed through the Department of Health.

EMS is stronger in Texas as a result of its local and regional structure. We often don’t think of the behind-the-scenes efforts that take place to make that happen but fortunately, we can benefit from the results!

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