Author Archives: Kyle Gaines

District Begins Critical Care Transport Program

In 2018, SCCAD managed over 9,000 inter-facility transfers. The Transfer Division handles numerous patient logistics such as: hospital-to-skilled nursing facility, assisted living, independent living, or private residence. Moreover, the Division oversees transport from hospital-to-hospital for situations beginning in St. Charles County. With the inception of our Critical Care Transport program, the new service line focuses on inter-facility transfers of patients who require additional services / care outside St. Charles County and of a higher acuity. The new service line’s primary objective is to extend the same terrific care established at the point-of-origin en route to the destination facility. Often times, patients who are admitted to an area Emergency Department or Intensive Care Unit are managed with medications and / or interventions outside the scope of the Standard Paramedic Curriculum. Paramedics who undergo Critical Care education are taught similar concepts and procedures as intensive care nurses and respiratory therapists.

Critical Care Paramedics possess a national Critical Care credential. As with any new service line, special attention has been paid to a multitude of aspects such as: operations, logistics, training, quality assurance, and communication. According to Chief Taz Meyer, “Successful Critical Care Transport operations is only obtainable through effective collaboration with area Healthcare systems. We highly value our relationships with BJC and SSM. Through our partnerships, we believe our Critical Care Transport capabilities will result in favorable patient outcomes especially in those high-acuity situations. We have looked forward to this moment of launching operations of a Critical Care nature for many years and we are excited to begin offering this new level of service to the community! ” The Paramedic Critical Care Specialist will staff a quick response vehicle, which will respond simultaneously with a SCCAD Transfer Division Ambulance. The two assets will form a Critical Care Ambulance.

Assistant Chief Lewis Attains ‘Fellow’ Distinction From American College of Healthcare Executives

Like other areas of the healthcare continuum, emergency medical services [EMS] is an industry that has undergone considerable evolution in recent years, and more change undoubtedly is on the horizon.  St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] is well-positioned to develop and promote best practices to integrated community healthcare thanks to Assistant Chief David Lewis, who recently became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives [ACHE], the nation’s leading professional society for healthcare leaders.

“The healthcare management field plays a vital role in providing high-quality care to the people in our communities, which makes having a standard of excellence promoted by a professional organization critically important,” says Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, president and CEO of ACHE.  “By becoming an ACHE Fellow and earning the distinction of board certification from ACHE, healthcare leaders demonstrate a commitment to excellence in serving their patients and community.”

Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development.  Only 9,100 healthcare executives hold this distinction.  Candidates must fulfill multiple requirements, including passing a comprehensive exam, meeting academic and experiential criteria, and demonstrating professional/community involvement.  Fellows are also committed to ongoing professional development and undergo recertification every three years.

“Assistant Chief Lewis’s leadership, problem-solving abilities and ability to develop strategic, collaborative solutions to issues in our industry and community make him an invaluable asset to our organization,” said SCCAD Chief Taz Meyer.  “His attainment of the ACHE’s Fellow distinction points to his dedication to constant growth and improvement.”

Since his arrival at SCCAD in 2015, Lewis has been instrumental in the development of several cutting-edge initiatives that see paramedics collaborating with healthcare partners across the community to improve outcomes.  Examples include a hospital readmission avoidance program operated in collaboration with Barnes Jewish St. Peters and Progress West Hospitals, and a behavioral health telemedicine partnership with Behavioral Health Response that connects qualifying patients with masters-trained counselors as opposed to routing these individuals to an emergency department.

Lewis also spearheaded the creation of the District’s Substance Use Recovery Response Team.  Developed in early 2017 to help those affected by the opiate epidemic, the program received the American Ambulance Association’s Community Impact Award for its unique approach to linking patients with treatment, giving them a chance at recovery.

Assistant Chief David Lewis, FACHE

SCCAD Earns Highest Possible Credit Rating From Moody’s

St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] has received a triple-A rating, the highest rating possible, from Moody’s Investors Service a leading global credit rating, research and risk analysis firm.

The District applied for the bond rating in connection with an initial sale of $47.9 million of the $70 million of bonds authorized by voters in August.  Moody’s released a report that describes the rationale for assigning the rating including a modest debt burden, stable financial operations and sizable reserves. Continue reading

Paramedics Double-Down on Disaster Preparedness with Major Incident RV, AmbuBus

St. Charles County paramedics have two new assets ready to roll in the event of a large-scale incidents – a 22-passenger AmbuBus and a multi-functional Major Incident Response Unit.  Both vehicles are fully outfitted and ready to respond to incidents in the St. Louis region and beyond.

The District’s Major Incident Response Unit utilizes a recreational vehicle [RV] platform with slide-out walls to provide four patient care areas, providing a high degree versatility for a variety of incidents.  Continue reading

MEMSA Bestows Top Honors on St. Charles Co. Paramedic, Ambulance Dist.

Paramedic Dave Kroll joined St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] in June of 2015, just as the District debuted cutting-edge cardio-cerebral resuscitation [CCR] protocols.  Though the CCR protocols have helped dramatically increase cardiac arrest survival rates in the county, Kroll knew the key to driving numbers even higher lied in getting lay rescuers comfortable with the idea and technique of providing high-quality chest compressions.  He got involved in the District’s fledgling Lifesaver CPR effort, and today has ultimate oversight of the program, which trains thousands of individuals annually in hands-only CPR and choking relief.  Last week, his commitment to increasing cardiac arrest survival rates was honored by the Missouri Emergency Medical Services Association with their 2018 Community Service Award.  Continue reading

Prop. Ambulance to Appear on August 7 Ballot

In recent years, the Ambulance District’s call volume growth has increased notably – Paramedics currently respond to approximately 40,000 calls per year in our community.  Looking into the future, we anticipate that by 2028, our call volume will be above 65,000 annually.  To maintain short response times to 911 emergencies amid this growth, the District is asking voters to consider Proposition Ambulance on August 7 – a $70 million general obligation bond issue that would enable SCCAD to further develop its infrastructure.  If approved, we would purchase land for future station locations, construct said stations, add ambulances, and purchase lifesaving medical equipment.  In addition to adding these items as needed based on call volume, the proposition would allow for construction of a central facility to house administration, training, service center and other areas of the operation that are now in separate facilities.

Because the projects would be undertaken over a 10-year period, the District would issue bonds as-needed rather than in one lump sum.  Taking this approach would enable us to keep our debt service levy at or under five cents per $100 of assessed valuation.  For the owner of the average home in St. Charles County ($215,000), this translates to $20.43 annually.

For general information, including proposed station locations, please refer to the current edition of Pulse Points.  More detailed financial data can be found in our 10-Year Capital Improvement Plan, which breaks down the cost of each construction project, vehicle, etc.  Detailed year-by-year project lists can also be found in this document.  The Official Resolution adopted by the Board of Directors contains official ballot language and other information that may be helpful to voters.

Paramedics Aim to Reduce Response Times With O’Fallon Infrastructure Improvements

A February St. Louis Post Dispatch headline proclaimed ‘Red Hot O’Fallon Keeps Growing and Growing’; a sentiment to which St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] Paramedics can certainly attest.  With rapid development has come increased demand for emergency medical services – a demand SCCAD will address with two new ambulance stations strategically positioned to help reduce response times to 911 calls.  Continue reading

St. Charles County First Responders Suit Up For Mass Casualty Hazmat Training

If asked to describe a chlorine reaction, most individuals would cite eye irritation or green-tinged hair that occurs after a day spent zipping down waterslides or splashing in a community pool.  Reactions to highly-diluted chlorine are mild and subside within hours, but higher concentrations of chlorine exposure can be harmful, even fatal – a scenario that provides the backdrop for this year’s Mass Casualty Incident [MCI] training for Paramedics and Firefighters in St. Charles County. Continue reading

SCCAD Recognized For Financial Reporting

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting was awarded to St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).  The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by an agency and its management.

The CAFR is judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential user and user groups to read the CAFR.