Cumberland Times-News

March 9, 2013

Allegany County EMS Change

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners voted last week to approve changes to the county’s emergency medical services system.

“It’s a good day in Allegany County,” said County Director of Emergency Services Richard DeVore.  

A recent study emphasizes timely responses to patients from the nearest rescue company with the appropriate staffing level and enforcement of an automatic advanced life support alerting policy for all cases of reported respiratory/cardiac arrest; unconsciousness or unresponsiveness; severe allergic reaction; severe trauma involving rollover; ejections or fatalities; and other calls indicating a life-or-death situation.

That means that the first-due ALS company will always be alerted, and if after two minutes that company does not confirm it is responding, the call will be made to the next closest company.

“It’s very easy for us to implement,” said DeVore.  

Dr. Richard Alcorta of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems updated the work he did in 2005, which studied the county’s emergency medical services, including communications.

Alcorta was asked in 2011 to complete a new study with recommendations by county EMS officials and county commissioners.

The 2005 study brought important changes to the county’s emergency medical services system.

Adding a county paramedic corps was one of the significant changes brought about by the 2005 report, DeVore said.

Annual reports for volunteer companies also need to be prepared in a timely manner, DeVore said. The study recommends some form of disciplinary procedure to be developed to encourage compliance.

Suggestions for funding of emergency medical services were also included in the report, but County Administrator David Eberly was quick to squash any talk of a tax, saying the county is not particularly interested in pursuing that idea.

The study said the county should encourage the 22 services that do not have a fire and EMS tax approach to come to county commissioners about developing one.

Special fire and EMS taxing districts already established include Bedford Road, Bowling Green, Cresaptown, LaVale and Rawlings.

County Attorney William Rudd has said establishing such tax districts is a complicated and time-consuming process.

The analysis by Alcorta is termed a SWOT study, which looks at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the county’s emergency medical response system.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.