EMS Excellence – From Macon to Mid-GA
“The highest of distinctions is service to others,” once said King George VI. And it is in Georgia, where the operational excellence and dedicated service to others imparted by one enterprise has not only resulted with its earning of high distinction in its industry, but has also made a very real difference in the saving of lives.
Almost 40 years ago, an ambulance service was launched in Central Georgia which resolved to combine the highest quality standards in patient care with the capabilities of a dedicated team of qualified professionals. With a single used-ambulance, Mid Georgia Ambulance began operations in the Bibb County community of Macon in 1977, yet over the years that have followed, it has evolved into one of the largest ambulance services in the state of Georgia.
Today, Mid Georgia Ambulance (MGA) responds to needs in nine counties (encompassing both urban residential and rural landscapes) for a service coverage collectively comprised by a population of some 400,000 people. MGA employs approximately 300 personnel whose expertise and dedication to duty have helped this service achieve ranking among the top ambulance services in America. MGA is also one of the few ambulance services in Georgia that has earned accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, an independent Commission whose standards reflect the highest quality in the delivery of modern emergency medical services; standards that often exceed those imposed by state or local regulations. MGA is the one-and-only CAAS Accredited service in central and South Georgia. Today In addition to fulfilling 9-1-1 emergency medical transport services, MGA also provides non-emergency transport services, neo-natal transport and special stand-by event coverage in a for a range of community events. “There are challenges we’ve been able to overcome, making us better, and stronger health care providers along the way” says Director of Public Relations Amy Abel-Kiker. She says that in responding to emergencies in some of the more rural areas, where the transport time to a hospital is longer than that in urban settings, the services provided by MGA may often make all the difference between life and death. What’s more, as the go-to provider of stand-by services for special events in an area that not only has universities, but also a number of high schools, coordination of these activities also requires expertise. As Abel-Kiker says, “On most any Friday night, there may be a dozen or more football games being played at area high schools, but we’ll have our own team there standing by to assist with any emergency or medical need.”
In terms of other medical needs, last year, MGA was dispatched to duty in more than 65,000 scenarios, and to be sure, those duties involved much more than a mere medical transport. As Abel-Kiker affirms, “Many people believe that the purpose of EMS is simply to give people a ride to the hospital … but we prefer to think of it as bringing the hospital to the person in need. Our staff has been trained to respond to the range of needs and there’s a lot we can do in the back of that ambulance … whether that means transmitting an EKG while en route to the hospital, administering CPR or pushing medication through an IV, Paramedics and EMTs are administering skilled, lifesaving care during each transport.
A Legacy in Life Saving
There can be no overstating of MGA’s role in saving lives, and its personnel have annually earned honors for service rendered during exceedingly dire emergency situations. A recent example includes an accident that threatened to claim the life of two teenage pedestrians after they were struck by a car.MGA Paramedics Ferrell Sellers, Mark Ponder, and Jay Mosier, along with EMT Ryan McBrayer arrived on scene and skillfully treated the traumatic injuries until the teens were transitioned to medics at South Georgia Medical Center. The care administered by MGA was deemed critical to the recovery of these children, who ultimately recovered, free of any neurological impact. The MGA crew was honored during the annual meeting of the Georgia Association of EMS where they were recognized with two distinguished awards, the Dr. Joe Simons Pediatric Award of Excellence and the Mary Beth Bowns Excellence in Trauma Care Award. Abel-Kiker says the occasion marked a rare occurrence when multiple awards resulted from a single call.
Yet, the staff at MGA approaches their work as something more of a life’s calling as opposed to a career pursuit, and as such, life-saving isn’t limited to an on-duty shift. Consider a recent case involving MGA EMT Andrew Werkheiser. During a recent family vacation to Hawaii, he was traveling along a beach when he came upon a scene of bystanders distraught by a situation involving a tourist who had suddenly collapsed on the ground. Werkheiser quickly administered CPR and continued until Honolulu EMS arrived. The tourist ultimately recovered and returned to Michigan with quite a story to share. Werkheiser went on to earn the Public Safety Hometown Hero Award presented by the Central Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Of course, life saving isn’t confined to paramedic and EMT operations, as Abel-Kiker indicates that those serving in MGA’s dispatch center have also imparted emergency medical services – over the phone.
MGA’s Central Medical Emergency Dispatch center in Macon houses the technology as well as the trained staff to respond to emergencies throughout Georgia. Dispatchers are trained through the National Academy of Emergency Dispatchers and are adept in using what is known as the Emergency Medical Dispatch pre-arrival instructions, a system that enables dispatchers to assess each patient over the phone while dispatching an ambulance to the scene of the call. This helps ensure there is no lapse in care for its patients; each is cared for from the time they contact the dispatch center until the time medics release them to a receiving facility or hospital. MGA dispatchers have helped callers administer CPR, deliver first-aid and have even assisted in the delivering of babies. “Dispatchers seldom receive recognition for the skilled and compassionate care they provide, but we’ve had many people credit our team for providing instructions and helping callers remain calm in very tense situations. That voice over the phone is so essential in ensuring everything runs smoothly and ensuring successful patient outcomes,” says Abel-Kiker.
When it comes to running smoothly, MGA is also equipped with some of the best fleet maintenance technicians in the industry; experts certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. MGA has more than 50 ambulances and over the course of a year, these mobile emergency rooms will log upwards of two million miles to fulfill care through central Georgia. MGA’s mechanical professional are vital to that process.
Public Safety Education
Abel-Kiker asserts that MGA operations embrace a team approach, committed to not only working together, but working with the communities where they operate. When not on duty, MGA staff can be found supporting a number of not-for-profit initiatives and charity events that benefit children, education and public safety. While that presence has helped benefit a variety of causes, MGA has been particularly successful in developing programs that help area residents better understand how to respond to emergencies they may personally encounter. From CPR classes and first-aid classes, to programs involving proper use of the 9-1-1 system, MGA has also earned recognition as an outstanding educator. “Part of our job is to help inform the community about safety and health risks that are ever present,” says Abel-Kiker. “Our mission includes helping the public understand how to prevent accidents and what to do when an accident occurs. Providing them with CPR training, for example, can empower the average person to assist in saving the life of someone in need”.
Last year, MGA launched a new program called Hand 2 Heart CPR, an initiative that allows the general public to secure CPR certification based on curriculum the company exclusively designed. The program was launched with a public campaign that saw Hip Hop Artist Floco Torres create a very unique message about administering CPR through a rap song called “Save a Life.” The video performance of that song secured national attention, not only winning Best Video/Podcast in the 2013 PR Daily Non Profit Award Program, but also recognition among the nation’s Best Public Service Announcements.
In terms of the future, Abel-Kiker says MGA is continually seeking solutions to fill voids and better impart, quality, affordable care. She says the company has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and continually looks to acquire tools that help increase efficiency and accuracy in the fulfilling of services. From advances in cardiac monitors and communications equipment to rugged laptop devices that assist in efficiently capturing and transmitting patient information (known as EPCRs or Electronic Patient Care Reports), these and other mechanisms, she says, have helped MGA stay at the forefront of innovations that assist the industry. She says MGA will continue to take advantage of these resources, while also advancing training, operational efficiency and community outreach.
“We want to stay on the cutting edge,” says Abel-Kiker. “Despite the changes currently taking place in medicine and healthcare, our priority will always be achieving the best patient care and clinical standards. The future for us is continuing to challenge ourselves and strive for further excellence.”
For more information, please visit their website at: Mid Georgia Ambulance
Preferred Vendors of Choice: