SCCAD Sets Gold Standard In Cardiac, Stroke Care

St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] paramedics once again earned Gold Plus status in the American Heart Association’s annual Mission: Lifeline program, which recognizes EMS agencies for their implementation of quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks and strokes.

Each year, more than 250,000 individuals experience a ST elevation myocardial infarction [STEMI], a deadly type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment.  To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, a significant number of these patients don’t receive this prompt attention.

The correct tools, training and practices allow SCCAD paramedics to rapidly treat these patients and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.  Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold award demonstrated compliance for each of four required cardiac achievement measures, and two stroke reporting measures.  The ‘Plus’ distinction reflects that paramedics are consistently performing a 12-lead ECG on patients within 10 minutes on chest pain calls.  2021 marks SCCAD’s third Gold Plus honor, and its seventh overall Mission: Lifeline recognition.

“SCCAD paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who experience significant medical emergencies in our community,” said SCCAD Chief Kelly Cope.  “As the first medical point of contact, they perform life-saving interventions and shave precious minutes of treatment time off by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals.”

SCCAD paramedics and leadership staff are elated to be recognized at this high level but highlight the fact that collaborative relationships that make it possible.

“We convene regularly with our partners at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters, Progress West, SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital St. Charles and SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital Lake St. Louis to develop protocols with the goal of improving the quality of care for stroke and STEMI patients,” said John Romeo, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for SCCAD.

Cardiac care has been an area of focus for SCCAD in recent years; in 2015, the District was the first in the region to debut cardio-cerebral resuscitation [CCR] – an innovative approach to cardiac arrest management that saw a significant increase in survival to hospital discharge rates.  In addition, SCCAD paramedics work to provide cost-free chest compression education to St. Charles County residents via the Lifesaver CPR program, which has to date trained more than 11,000 individuals.