• Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

Emergency Medical Services and UPMC: Working Together to Answer the Call

Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers are the first step to providing world-class care throughout the UPMC system.

“If there isn’t effective partnership and teamwork with EMS, and a clear link to who can see people as soon as possible after the onset of trauma or symptoms, we we are losing a valuable opportunity to improve health,” said Dr Donald. Yealy, chief medical officer of UPMC. “It’s that simple.”

The positive outcomes are a direct result of the relationship between EMS and their Emergency Services (ED) counterparts. “The interaction is built on continuity – from the first call to 911 until the patient is brought to the emergency room,” said Shannon Adams, acting fire chief, Cumberland, Maryland. “Communicating the treatment that is happening on the ground is key to ensuring that hospital staff are prepared for what is happening.

Community LifeTeam EMS members participate in scenarios developed for their assessment of stress-induced skills

At UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania, the emergency department adopted a “20-second trauma cry.” When EMS enters the trauma room with a patient, the entire UPMC team remains silent in order to receive critical information and to respect the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) bringing the patient in. “It was developed a few years ago, and it’s been so successful that it’s become a statewide program with UPMC at the forefront of its development,” said Don Holsten, Senior Director of Hospital Care at UPMC Hamot.

The transport team at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh also relies heavily on information they receive from emergency medical services. “What EMS gives us is critical,” said respiratory therapist Karen Luksis. “They are giving us critical updates on the care they have provided both on site and en route to the hospital.”

This information is particularly important when dealing with young patients. “The infant population can be complicated to care for,” said Mark Westerman, RN, UPMC Child Transport Team. “There’s a lot of equipment and technology involved. It is both physically and intellectually heavy.

Seven UPMC hospitals are served by Community LifeTeam EMS, a UPMC-designed EMT and paramedic staff with approximately 300 dedicated providers. For the past two years, the team has operated its own training academy to continue putting highly skilled and trained workers into the UPMC pipeline.

“When you have a need, why not create the offer?” said Craig Skurcenski, Vice President, Emergency Medicine, UPMC at Central Pa. “The idea was born out of a desire to recruit, train and retain our own staff in a way that is attractive to the workforce. and in a functional capacity that has allowed us to create the type of employee we want to have.

Community LifeTeam EMS covers 86 municipalities in central Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg and York.

“We bring together people from very different backgrounds who have chosen EMS as their future career at UPMC,” said Bret Mitchell, Education Coordinator, Community LifeTeam EMS. “They are hired and paid to learn how to become EMTs.”

The 10-week program begins in the classroom with a basic introduction that progresses to more advanced topics, such as CPR on unconscious patients and technical rescues. Next comes the clinical experience in the field, and after passing their tests, they are placed in ambulances as professional paramedics.

To learn more about EMS career opportunities at UPMC, visit UPMC-Careers.