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January 04, 2008

Cambridge Receives EMS Honor

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system in the City of Cambridge was recently recognized by the Metro Boston EMS Council with the Innovation Award.

The Innovation Award is presented to an entity that has shown innovative thinking to address a problem that affects the EMS community.  This prestigious award was presented to the leaders of the four entities who comprise the system that provides 9-1-1 prehospital care to Cambridge.  Led by Chief Gerald Reardon of the Cambridge Fire Department, the contingent included George Fosque of the Cambridge Emergency Communications Department, Larry Stone of Professional Ambulance Service, and John Conceison of South Middlesex EMS.

The Metropolitan Boston Emergency Medical Services Council, Inc. is the agency designated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to coordinate the delivery of emergency medical services within the sixty-two cities and towns comprising the Metropolitan Boston Area.  The Region includes Boston and Cambridge, and extends north as far as Wilmington and Littleton, west as far as Marlborough and Hopkinton, and south as far as Wrentham and Hanover with a population of over 2 million people, and accounts for close to 1 million emergency department visits in the Region's twenty-five hospitals each year.

The Cambridge EMS System has allowed several high functioning EMS entities the flexibility to focus on what they do best on a daily basis.  The Cambridge Fire Department is focused on ALS rescue and first response bringing ALS to the patient’s side in the fastest time possible.  Additionally, CFD paramedics are available to respond on a regional basis to any number of extreme situations and rescues with the ability to deploy paramedics into high hazard scenes.  Professional Ambulance is focused on EMS transportation, quality assurance, and data collection for the system.

The Cambridge Emergency Communications Department serves as the first link in the chain of the Cambridge EMS system by providing EMD and coordination during all responses.  Finally, South Middlesex EMS provides all aspects of medical direction to the system enabling the Cambridge EMS system to maintain the highest levels of patient care, quality, and education.  Through this partnership, the Cambridge EMS system has been able to develop and provide a high level of detailed data on its performance with the ultimate goal of assisting other providers in doing the same.

By working together, the Cambridge EMS system has been able to deploy cutting edge equipment and technology to improve patient care.  Recent months have seen the advent of CPAP, Autopulse, ResQPod, improved electronic patient care reporting, carbon monoxide oximetry, and EZ IO throughout the system.  Recently, staff from both entities worked to formally open a full functioning, high fidelity, human patient simulation lab at Professional Ambulance.  All Cambridge EMS providers train together and maintain their skills with the best equipment and instruction that is available.

The Cambridge Fire Department is the only ISO Class 1 Fire Department in Massachusetts and Professional Ambulance Service is the only EMS service in Massachusetts holding accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services for compliance with national standards of excellence.  There are only eight (8) communities in the United States, of which Cambridge is one, served by an ISO Class 1 Fire Department and a CAAS Accredited Ambulance Service.

Several other indivudual participants within the Cambridge EMS System were also recognized.  The EMS Physician of the Year was awarded to Dr. Assaad Sayah, Chief of Emergency Medicine for the Cambridge Health Alliance.   The EMS Nurse of the Year was awarded to Cheri Carey, RN, from the Cambridge Hosptial Emergency Department.  The annual Mark E. Weinstein Award in recognition of outstanding contibutions to the Metro Boston EMS system was presented to Bill Mergendahl, CEO of Professional Ambulance Service.