As the first line of defense in our communities, EMS personnel need support now more than ever. Agencies and organizations across the country are pooling their resources to help serve and make a positive impact during this crisis.
Sullivan County Emergency Medical Services, the primary EMS provider for Sullivan County, TN, provides aid to about 150,000 citizens and visitors, as well as those in surrounding communities. A number of ambulances and first responder agencies spread across Sullivan County are ready to respond at a moment’s notice, as their mission is to provide “the best emergency and non-emergency care to patients and their families at the worst times in their lives.”
The progressive care provided by the service personnel of Sullivan County EMS (SCEMS) is often described as an “extension of the emergency room,” where the years of experience offered by the County’s personnel of highly-trained Medical Directors, Paramedics, and EMTs allow them to maintain a “continuity of care from the place of origin to the hospital.” Since 1970, it has been their prerogative to have as many trained personnel on scene of an emergency as soon as possible.
In this particular line of work, “seconds count,” and Sullivan County EMS has committed to having the right systems in place in order to lower response times to medical emergencies within their growing communities. Part of their ability to provide such timely service is due to Sullivan County’s tiered response system, which allows for readily-available, localized teams to respond preemptively:
“These response teams bring manpower and multiple levels of training –from Medical Doctors to First Responders– to the crisis environments faced by our Paramedics and EMTs quickly and efficiently. These teams are highly lauded amongst emergency medical personnel for their selfless acts. With their short response times, they have repeatedly induced appropriate care and –most importantly– prolonged viability of life in the field prior to our arrival.” – Gary Mayes, Regional Director
Sullivan County EMS is not alone in providing care and support for their people. In this rural community, EMS is a third service for the County, acting as an extension of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department (SCRHD). The SCRHD also helps to prepare the County for public health emergencies. Their Public Health Emergency Preparedness Department, recognized by NACCHO Project Public Health Ready, uses “an all-hazards approach for emergency planning, focusing on situations that specifically affect the health of the public.” The SCRHD serves the communities of Kingsport, Bristol, Bluff City, and Piney Flats within Sullivan County. Their department’s workforce of around 90 personnel also works closely with the Northeast Tennessee Healthcare Preparedness Coalition in preparing their response to public health emergencies like the one we are experiencing today.
The collaboration between Sullivan County EMS and their Health Department combined with their support from Digitech as an EMS billing partner has inspired inventive measures to combat the COVID crisis. As technological innovation is at Digitech’s core, the evolution and design of new tools in the Ambulance Commander software system ensures that partners will have access to such timely solutions. With data gleaned from Digitech’s recent COVID-19 Symptom Map, Sullivan County has been able to identify the areas within their community in the greatest demand of care. This insight allows them to strategically place future COVID-19 testing sites, so Sullivan can continue to support their most vulnerable populations.
“The COVID Symptom map can be a helpful tool in mitigating the virus by determining specific communities that may need testing, quarantine, or treatment. It allows EMS and Health departments to work collaboratively during the COVID Pandemic.” – Brandon Alley, Sullivan County EMS
The gears continue to turn in Sullivan County as leaders look to this new Ambulance Commander tool for even more creative solutions in the future, like tracking flu-related incidents.
Between these partnerships and updating their Facebook page with information and guidelines on COVID-19, mental health tips, and to thank individuals making donations to support their emergency service providers, Sullivan County EMS continues to commit to their mission of looking out for every single one of their neighbors in need.
- Sullivan County EMS, http://www.sullivancountyems.org/main/
- Sullivan County EMS, “First Responders.” January 7, 2015. http://www.sullivancountyems.org/main/section/first-responders
- Sullivan County EMS, “Emergency Services.” January 7, 2015. http://www.sullivancountyems.org/main/section/emergency-services
- Sullivan County Regional Health Department, “History.” 2017. https://www.sullivanhealth.org/about-us/history
- Sullivan County Regional Health Department, “Emergency Preparedness.” 2017. https://www.sullivanhealth.org/emergency-preparedness
- The Northeast Tennessee Healthcare Preparedness Coalition. 2020. http://nethealthcoalition.org/
- Digitech Computer. 2020. https://digitechcomputer.com/.
- Digitech Computer, “New Utilities in Ambulance Commander.” April 24, 2020. https://digitechcomputer.com/new-utilities-in-ambulance-commander/
- Sullivan County Emergency Medical Services Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/SCEMSOfficial/