Written by Janet Taylor, Missouri EMS Connection Editorial Advisor
Photos provided by GVMH EMS
Our service spotlight for this issue is Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare (GVMH) EMS. It is a hospital-based service that is centrally located in Henry County, which is an hour southeast of the Kansas City metro area. Henry County covers 697 square miles of land and 35 square miles of Truman Lake with a population of 22,000. The GVMH EMS provides emergent and non-emergent transport.
GVMH opened in 1972. At that time, ambulance services were provided by a volunteer-based service. Prior to that, the local funeral directors were responsible for transporting the sick and injured to the GVMH emergency room. In 1975, GVMH took over operations of EMS services for Henry County with one ambulance provided by the state and staffed by emergency department RNs and EMTs. Since that time, the need for EMS has steadily grown and GVMH has met the demand with four additional ambulances and an operations vehicle. GVMH EMS is supported by several volunteer fire departments and one full-time fire department. Two of these departments operate under the same medical direction allowing for more uniformity in protocols and quality assurance.
Staffing and Call Volume
GVMH EMS receives an average of more than 4,000 requests a year and runs an average of 3,200 transports. They are staffed with 30 team members including an EMS director, medical director, and three operations supervisors. GVMH EMS operates out of one building centrally located in Clinton, the county seat of Henry County. The new EMS station officially opened in October of last year. The new station includes an ambulance garage and living quarters for on-duty EMS employees.
“We are excited to have this new space available for our EMS team,” said Lynnette Hayes, Chief Nursing Officer at GVMH. “This gives employees a place to recuperate and will help speed our response time for emergencies.”
Quality improvement and protocol review occurs every month with the EMS director, medical director, operations supervisors, and local first responders attending. Local fire personnel and EMS staff are encouraged to attend to gain CEU for protocol review. Charts are reviewed to see trends in care and sections of the current protocols are reviewed and updated throughout the year to make sure everything is up-to-date with current best practices. GVMH EMS considers itself lucky to have support from the Clinton Fire Department, as well as the local volunteer fire and rescue departments in the outlying areas.
GVMH EMS works with the local fire and rescue departments in providing education and training to its members. Every year, the “Olde Glory Days” festival is held on the square in downtown Clinton, Mo. in July and the GVMH EMS provides a first aid/hydration station, as well as offering compressions only CPR training to participants. The team also works with the local vocational school and junior high/high school in offering the Stop the Bleed program that teaches the public how to control bleeding and to help save the life of someone with uncontrolled bleeding.
GVMH just received its Level 3 Stroke Designation for the state in July 2022. GVMH EMS uses NIHSS stroke scale to assess patients who may be having a stroke and can now provide definitive patient care quicker with GVMH being located so close.
GVMH also set a goal of increasing sepsis recognition and treatment and included EMS in the plan. As of July 1, 2022, GVMH EMS completed its sepsis training and is currently working with the emergency department to increase sepsis recognition and decrease the time from recognition to intervention by drawing blood cultures and hanging antibiotics in the field. This process has proven results in decreasing mortality in other EMS systems across the nation and GVMH EMS is proud to be one of the few in the state with such progressive protocols.
GVMH EMS is also pleased with the relationship it shares with local EMT and paramedic programs that utilize GVMH and its EMS as a preceptor location to accomplish their clinical and ambulance competencies. GVMH EMS can provide these students with the experience and opportunity to practice their skills in a rural environment.
With the current state of healthcare and the struggles every agency is having with staffing, GVMH EMS is elated that staff turnover has remained low and that the department is more than 90% staffed. GVMH EMS believes that this is possible because of the family-like atmosphere that they have worked hard to create. “We cook meals together, babysit each other’s kids, we laugh, and we cry together,” said one GVMH EMS crew member. “You do not get that at every EMS agency.”
If you would like to learn more about GVMH EMS, visit www.gvmh.org/service/emergency-services.
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