Lawrence County EMS takes gold: Recognized for its pre-hospital care for heart patients

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, June 12, 2019

At Tuesday’s Lawrence County Commissioners’ meeting, the Lawrence County EMS was awarded the American Heart Association’s Mission Lifeline Gold Plus Award.

This is the third year in a row the agency has gotten the award. In 2016, it got a silver award.

The award is for the care the paramedics and EMTs provide as they are getting a patient having a heart attack or stroke to a hospital.

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Cynthia Keeley, director of quality at the American Heart Association, presented the award.

“Today, we’re celebrating lives saved because of the hard work and dedication of Lawrence County,” she said. “The communities served by Lawrence County EMS should be very proud of their pre-hospital care professionals.”

The Gold Plus Award is given to EMS agencies that implement the quality of care and outcomes provided for the most serious types of heart attacks, ST elevation myocardial infraction (STEMI), which more than 250,000 people experience annually. Timely treatment is required for these heart attacks, which include critically restoring blood flow as quickly as possible, whether by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

Beyond the basic components of a “high-functioning” STEMI system of care, Keeley said that Lawrence County EMS is part of an elite group of pre-hospital agencies in the nation focused on not only “high functioning,” but also “high quality” STEMI systems of care.

Lawrence County EMS is one of 593 and one of 99 in Ohio to get the Gold Plus Award this year.

To get it, Lawrence County EMS had to achieve a 75 percent or higher compliance score for each specific EMS quality measure for 48 months, which include percentage of patients with non-traumatic chest pain of people aged 35 or greater, treated and transported by EMS who receives a pre-hospital 12-Lead electrocardiograms (ECG); percentage of STEMI patients transported to a STEMI Receiving Center, with pre-hospital First Medical Contact to Device in under 90 minutes; and percentage of adult Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest patients resuscitated on-scene with sustained ROSC of at least 20 minutes maintained to arrival at the emergency department who had a 12-Lead ECG performed in the field.

“I just want to say, this is a team effort,” said Lori Morris, Lawrence County EMS executive director of finance. “It is all of Lawrence County EMS that won this award. It is a great thing.”

Dan Heuchert, Lawrence County EMS training coordinator, is in charge of gathering the data and submitting to the American Heart Association.

“I couldn’t do it with the hospital staff,” he said, adding that St. Mary’s, Cabell-Huntington, King’s Daughter’s and Our Lady of Bellefonte hospitals helped with the data and establishing protocols.

Commissioner Freddie Hayes Jr. congratulated them for getting the Gold Award for the third year in a row.

Commissioner DeAnna Holliday said Keeley used the word professional “and I think that sums up this group of people. We do have professionals on the front line everyday, serving the people of Lawrence County.”

Commissioner Colton Copley said he had a unique perspective on this situation since he is one of the emergency room doctors that the EMS brings STEMI patients to.

“I see what just a little bit of a delay can mean between someone going into arrest and getting to the cath lab,” he said. “I appreciate what you guys do in getting the information to us as quickly as possible.”