Tag: EMS

Paramedics aim to educate North Huntingdon residents

north-huntingdon-emsBy Tony LaRussa – Norwin Star

Paramedics in North Huntingdon have added a new service that goes beyond responding quickly to calls for help and transporting patients to hospitals.

They are trying to prevent problems that could lead to an unnecessary hospital stay.

“We felt that some of our residents might be experiencing gaps in the medical treatment that they are receiving,” said Shane Spielvogle, executive director of North Huntingdon EMS/Rescue. “So we came up with a way to use our personnel to try and fill in those gaps.”

The new Community Paramedicine program will send paramedics to residents’ homes to conduct “wellness checks” that include blood-pressure screenings; monitoring manageable diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, emphysema and asthma; discussing proper ways to manage medication; and ensuring that residents are receiving proper nutrition, said John Tirpak, the emergency service’s operations director.

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Elizabeth Township EMS organization achieves master level

012314-elizabeth-twp-emsBy Tim Karan / photo by Cindy Shegan Keeley – McKeesport Daily News

Parents of young children in Elizabeth Township should feel a little more at ease if the need for an ambulance arises. Elizabeth Township Area EMS was awarded master level recognition for its commitment to improving the emergency medical care of children through the Emergency Medical Services for Children program.

The program, made possible by a partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council, issued Elizabeth Township Area EMS a certificate declaring the agency meets all the requirements of the EMSC Voluntary Recognition Program.

Chief Chris Dell said the EMS agency didn’t have to change much to achieve the certification.

“The program requires participating agencies to meet specific amounts of pediatric training and equipment,” he said. “We were very fortunate that, with the exception of needing to purchase one small piece of equipment, we already met the equipment standards. With respect to the training, we already met that standard as well.”

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Tablet computers help kids relax during Penn Township Ambulance trips

090513-penntwpBy Chris Foreman – Tribune-Review

Penn Township Ambulance is using a $250 grant to buy an electronic device for children to use as a distraction during long trips to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

PNC Bank is donating the money because the ambulance agency’s project received the goal of 250 votes — providing $1 per vote — on the bank’s Neighborhood Wishlist program website.

The nonprofit organization will buy a third nabi 2 tablet to keep in an ambulance for children to use during transports. The group’s two other ambulances have had tablets available to children since April because of donations by Girl Scout troops 26109 in Level Green and 21983 in McCullough.

Penn Township Ambulance transported 66 children between the ages of 1 and 12 to Children’s Hospital in 2012, Supervisor Ed Grant said.

During those trips, children were on life-support only 3 percent of the time — so most of the children who are transported into Pittsburgh are awake and with little to do during the trip, which can last up to 45 minutes. The tablets give children something to take their mind off of the reason for the trip, Grant said.

Grant said he got the idea to use a tablet in the ambulance after he saw how much his 2-year-old daughter was getting out of the device as an entertainment option and an educational tool.

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Forbes Regional gains Level II trauma center approval

080713-forbeshospitalBy Alex Nixon – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville has been designated a Level II trauma center, which allows the hospital to treat more complex medical emergencies. and could give it a boost as it competes with UPMC East.

The trauma center designation should create a “halo effect” for Forbes by raising the public perception of the quality of the hospital, said Dr. Christoph Kaufmann, trauma medical director at Forbes. That could lead to patients choosing it over UPMC East.

“Trauma is the leading cause of death in the U.S. from ages 1 through 44,” Kaufmann said. “Having advanced treatment capabilities for traumatic injury will make a tremendous difference to this community for those who live here.”

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White Oak EMS gives ailing New York baby door-to-cure transport

072513-whiteoakBy Jennifer R. Vertullo – McKeesport Daily News

White Oak EMS is answering a New York mother’s plea to transport her baby to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Jackson “Jax” Ulicky, born on Jan. 28, suffers from OEIS complex, a rare birth defect that manifests in complications surrounding the spine, bladder and digestive system. Those defects — exposure of the intestines, liver and other organs that remain outside the body during development — affect 1 in 200,000 to 400,000 pregnancies. The cause is unknown.

Jax has undergone two major surgeries in his first six months of life.

Through the “Adventures of Super Jax” Facebook fan page, more than 1,000 followers have witnessed the boy’s ups and downs in his care at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at West Chester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y.

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Canonsburg ambulance service receives animal oxygen mask kit

060613-canonsburgemsBy Jill Thurston – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Canonsburg General Hospital Ambulance Service now has a leg up on saving a pet’s life in a fire.

Invisible Fence Brand of Western Pennsylvania last month donated a pet oxygen mask kit containing three sizes of masks designed to fit over a pet’s muzzle. The donation is part of an Invisible Fence Brand program called Project Breathe, which has a goal to equip emergency responders in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks.

The masks allow emergency responders to give oxygen to pets suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires.

“In the past, we have used ordinary oxygen masks and they don’t seal around the dog’s muzzle,” said William R. Blair, manager of Canonsburg General Hospital Ambulance Service and a 32-year veteran in the emergency service field.

“If you think about the dynamics of the situation, during a home fire, people are already losing their belongings and then to lose a pet, it just adds to the trauma. I think if we can help in that situation, then we should,” Mr. Blair said.

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Ambulance squads hurt by reimbursements that don’t meet costs – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Munhall Area Prehospital Services is living payroll to payroll.

“If we were to have four to five bad months, it would finish us,” Emergency Medical Services Manager Richard McClean said.

The nonprofit ambulance service struggles because of the high number of uninsured people living in its Munhall-Homestead-West Homestead service area, but also because of low reimbursements from Medicare and the discounted rates it must accept from Highmark Inc. if it is to get direct payments from the insurer, McClean says.

Several ambulance services say they are hurting — and might need to cut services or dissolve — because of a complicated insurance reimbursement system that pays them far below their rising costs. People needing ambulances might have fewer outfits serving them, leading to longer wait times, said Knox Walk, the EMS director for Allegheny County.

“Everything else is going up, and we’re being paid less,” said Bryan Kircher, director of Ross/West View EMS. “It’s becoming more difficult to balance the budget and (maintain) that same level of service.”

Making matters worse, Highmark and other insurers refuse to reimburse the ambulance companies directly unless they sign contracts accepting steep discounts for services. The checks instead go to patients, many of whom pocket the money, said William Hess, chief of Monessen-based Mon Valley EMS.

“If you don’t contract with them, 90 percent of the time they won’t send the checks to us,” he said.

The Ambulance Association of Pennsylvania, which represents about 200 ambulance companies, and 16 individual companies sued Highmark and six other insurers in 2010, arguing the insurers conspired to force them into discounts. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in June.

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Ambulance squads hurt by reimbursements that don’t meet costs – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.