When the ambulance shows up, the experts take over. But what happens behind the scenes to maintain Maryland’s top-notch emergency medical services?
At the MACo Winter Conference session, “Vitals? Check: Taking the Pulse of Maryland’s Emergency Medical Services,” an expert panel provided an overview of the challenges and best practices for ensuring the highest level of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Maryland. The session was hosted by MACo’s Emergency Managers Affiliate.
The panel speakers included:
- Pat Gainer, JD, MPA, Deputy Director, Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems
- Clay B. Stamp, Chair, Maryland Emergency Medical Services Board and Assistant County Manager/Director of Talbot County Emergency Services
- Dr. Joseph Ciotola, Health Officer, Queen Anne’s County
- Mark Fletcher, EMS Division Chief – Operations, Caroline County Emergency Management
Pat Gainer, deputy director for the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS), provided a statewide perspective on Maryland EMS. She described the resources, leadership, and oversight required in order for the EMS system to function optimally and to provide effective care to patients by reducing preventable deaths, disability, and discomfort.
Clay Stamp described the challenges of providing EMS in rural counties. Mr. Stamp described challenges related to hospitals discharging medically complex patients too early — which requires local resources to supplement treatment, increasing demand for non-acute, chronic conditions, maintaining a competitive workforce, misuse of 9-1-1, and an outdated reimbursement model.
Mark Fletcher, having recently transitioned to Caroline County from Baltimore City, provided an overview of new EMS models in Baltimore City. Specifically, Chief Fletcher described the City’s treat and release program, its alternative destinations program, and its Mobile Integrated Healthcare program — which employs trained paramedics and nurses to coordinate care for underserved populations who often call 911 for non-emergency needs.
Dr. Ciotola provided an overview of Queen Anne’s County’s Mobile Integrated Community Health Program (MICH). The program, which is coordinated by the Queen Anne’s County Health Department and the Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services, provides a variety of skilled health care professionals to help residents meet personal healthcare goals and make referrals to appropriate community resources. MICH visits (which are provided at no cost for residents) may include a conversation on a patient’s past medical history, a medication review, a home safety check, a physical assessment, and health education.
Through the program, Queen Anne’s has seen a reduction in 9-1-1 calls among program participants and an increase in patients who are connected to community resources as a result of a MICH home visit.
The session was moderated by Delegate Carol Krimm and held on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.
The 2019 MACo Winter Conference, “Building for the Future,” was held on December 4-6, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year’s conference focused on county governance challenges and best practices – from the foundation to the rooftop – that will decide Maryland’s future.
More about the MACo Winter Conference: