EMS Day on the Hill

EMS professionals from four counties in South Carolina, including Aiken County, met in Washington, D.C. on April 11 for EMS Day on the Hill. There were 235 EMS professionals from all over the nation present at the summit.

Top row from left, Jessie Tatum, Oconee County EMS, and William Tatum, Oconee County EMS; second row from left, Jimmie Williamson, Aiken County EMS, Laurie DeRosier Aiken County EMS, Doug Warren, Dorchester County EMS, Ryan Thorne, Thorne Ambulance, bottom row from left, Sarah Thorne, Thorne Ambulance and Jennifer Wilson, EMSPIC.

Two members of Aiken County EMS traveled to Washington, D.C. last week for EMS Day on the Hill.

Jimmie Williamson, compliance officer, and Laurie DeRosier, logistics officer, with Aiken County EMS gathered on April 11 at our nation’s capitol.

The EMS 3.0 Summit was attended by 235 EMS professionals from 84 different agencies from 37 states, Williamson said.

Members from four EMS agencies in South Carolina were able to meet with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and the staff members of U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-SC, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-SC, and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, to discuss current issues facing our industry and those seeking Healthcare, DeRosier said.

"We came together as one voice to deliver a concise message to our congressional leaders," DeRosier said. "It was awesome. A truly great experience."

Some of the talking points presented and discussed were The Good Samaritan Health Professional Act of 2017, The Veteran’s Reimbursement for Emergency Ambulances Act, Supporting and Improving Rural EMS Needs and Joining the Congressional EMS Caucus.

During the summit, Williamson and DeRosier discussed one of the leading issues facing EMS today— the transformation into Mobile Integrated Healthcare, which is quickly becoming the new standard in out-of-hospital medicine, Williamson said.

The idea behind Mobile Integrated Healthcare is an effort to bring medical services to patient's homes in an attempt to prevent re-admission into the hospital, Williamson said.

"Basically you don't want patients to have to go to the hospital multiple times for the same problem," he said. 

The EMS side of Mobile Integrated Healthcare is community paramedicine, which is the idea of working with patients to manage health prior to needing emergency care.

"(Community paramedicine) is the recognition that some people come into the emergency room that could be treated at their homes instead," said Cindy Blystone, training officer with Aiken County EMS.

One of the services in this program is home visits, where a trained paramedic responds by preset appointments to ensure compliance of prescription medication, nutrition, and a detailed medical assessment of a pre-determined illness and reports back to the program physician.

There are already four counties in South Carolina that have community paramedics and are very successful, DeRosier said.

The rationale is to reduce emergency room visits by keeping the patient on track to recovery.

This opportunity is another milestone by Aiken County EMS, taking the next step in pre-hospital medicine.

Tripp Girardeau is the crime and courts reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter at @trippgirardeau.