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Specialty Care Transport provides another option for patients

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Specialty Care Transport provides another option for patients

Emergency Medical Services—the word “emergency” is in the name. It’s true that emergency medical services (EMS) at CCH are there to help when time is of the essence. But now they can help when a patient may need to be transported to another healthcare facility for additional care in a situation that is not an emergency. For example, a patient needs breathing assistance or advanced medication monitoring during transport to a rehab facility. Typically, these patients require care beyond the capabilities of a standard ambulance crew. Often these patients travel by air ambulance, which offers speed, but can be very expensive.

Specialty Care Transport is a relatively new program offered by Campbell County Health’s EMS with board certified paramedics who are specially trained in airway techniques and the use of transport ventilators. Paramedics can protect a patient’s airway with advanced airway techniques, including Medication Assisted Intubation, and Surgical Cricothyrotomy. They can transport medically complicated patients via ground ambulance, while still delivering the high-quality care required, but for a fraction of the cost of an air ambulance ride.

Program director Brad McKee explains, “We started noticing a number of patients that required specialty care beyond that of a standard ambulance. These patients were being flown, because there were no other available options, and in some cases being saddled with large air medical bills. We started doing these types of transports for patients leaving CCH, but quickly started getting requests from other healthcare facilities in the region. We are lucky enough to have cutting edge equipment like video laryngoscopes (to more accurately place breathing tubes), transport ventilators, and new ambulances equipped for long distance transports. All of this helps us ensure a safe trip for our patients, and crews. We provide a comparable level of care to that of air ambulances in the back of a ground ambulance. We are now able to offer specialty care to patients who don’t necessarily require the speed of an air ambulance for their care.”

Brad was a flight paramedic, and regional clinical manager for a large air medical company before joining CCH, and is excited to use his former experience to expand what EMS can do for patients in the region.

“We have transported ventilated patients from Casper to Billings, and even as far as Idaho. We also have the capability to include nurses and respiratory therapists if they are needed to care for the patient.”

EMS staff use the Simulation Center (SIM) at Gillette College for training, a collaboration between Campbell County Health and Gillette College. The SIM Center has computerized simulation mannequins with specific treatment scenarios. The mannequins are really advanced computerized machines with realistic anatomy that can simulate a seizure, heart attack, or even childbirth. This kind of teaching provides a controlled environment that imitates a real-life setting, so participants can master skills without putting patients at risk.
  • Category: CCH News, CCMG News, CCMH News