Declining numbers could lead to increased deaths
ICAHN video encourages EMS participation in rural areas
Due largely to limited budgets, increased responsibilities and education
requirements, the rural EMS workforce has steadily declined for around
three decades. Couple this with an increased population of elderly residents
in most rural areas, many who often call 911 when access to primary care
is not available, and a gap in healthcare is firmly established.
In an effort to bolster EMS workforce numbers in rural Illinois, the Illinois
Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) and its rural hospital membership
throughout the state recently teamed up with TAG Communications, Davenport,
IA to create a promotional video geared specifically for recruitment and
retention of rural EMS personnel.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO
“No matter how low the call volume is, ambulances still need to be
fully equipped and personnel properly trained to respond at a moment’s
notice,” said Brian Ashpole, ICAHN Data and Grant Project Coordinator.
“In this video, we are happy to promote some outstanding EMS personnel
and the work they do from both Kirby Medical Center and Gibson Area Hospital
& Health Services. It is our hope more people will decide to become
EMTs and paramedics, especially in the rural areas of our state.”
ICAHN’s EMS Sustainability Grant was made possible through the Medicare
Rural Hospital Flexibility Program through HRSA (Health Resources &
Services Administration). The $52,000-plus grant award was utilized to
create the video, create and activate the Medrills mobile app, and offer
webinars focused on basic EMT training, paramedic training, EMT-Intermediate
training, an EMT refresher, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training,
Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) training, and Advanced Trauma Life
Support (ATLS) training.
Use of the Medrills app offers a variety of different training exercises
which, upon successful completion, EMS personnel can obtain continuing
education credits. Illinois paramedics are required to have 100 hours
of CEs every four years, EMT-Intermediate learners need 80 hours every
four years, and EMT-basic learners need 60 hours every four years.
“Use of the app and all training, for that matter, has been very
well-received; first of all, because of its convenience and content, but
secondly, because all training is free,” said Ashpole about the
grant that concludes its first year on August 31. “We plan to write
this grant again and hopefully expand upon it.”
ICAHN’s EMS Advisory Committee includes three ambulance directors:
Chris Troxell of Mason District Hospital, Havana; Crystal Alexander of
Kirby Medical Center, Monticello; and Greg Scott, Gibson Area Hospital
& Health Services, Gibson City.
All critical access and small, rural hospitals owning their ambulance service
were invited to participate. Each of the 10 hospitals who committed to
the program received $3,000 per location to apply towards basic life support,
advanced cardiac life support, and pediatric advanced life support certification.
The 10 participating hospitals include: Horizon Health, Paris; Gibson
Area Hospital & Health Services, Gibson City; Genesis Medical Center,
Aledo; Clay County Hospital, Flora; Massac Memorial Hospital, Metropolis;
Wabash General Hospital, Mt. Carmel; Kirby Medical Center, Monticello;
Mason District Hospital, Havana; Morrison Community Hospital, Morrison;
and Boyd Healthcare Services, Carrollton.
Webinars included “Handtevy Method: Prehospital Pediatric Care”;
“Infectious Disease Management in Prehospital and Emergency Care”;
“ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) in Prehospital Care”;
“The Role of EMS in Community Outreach and Education”; “Ambulance
Documentation: Ensuring Services are Billable”; and “Communication
Strategies in EMS.”
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration
(HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under
grant H54RH00019, Rural Hospital Flexibility Program. For more information
about becoming a paramedic or emergency medical technician, contact your
hometown fire and ambulance service or local hospital.
ICAHN, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit agency, was established in 2003 for the
purposes of sharing resources, education, promoting efficiency and best
practice, and improving healthcare services for member critical access
hospitals and their rural communities. ICAHN, with its 57 critical access
and small, rural hospital membership, is an independent network governed
by a nine-member board. For further information, visit