During Monday’s Delaware County Board of Commissioners session, Jeff Fishel, county Emergency Medical Services (DCEMS) director and chief, announced the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) has awarded reaccreditation to the county.
“This morning is a very proud moment for Delaware County EMS as we are celebrating the renewal of our CAAS accreditation,” Fishel said. “This is a very stringent, very prestigious award in the industry of EMS.”
Fishel noted less than 1% of all EMS providers in the nation hold the accreditation.
“In Delaware County, we are the only ones to have the CAAS accreditation,” he said. “We’re one of six in the state of Ohio, and in central Ohio, there is only one other public entity that has this CAAS accreditation.”
According to the CAAS website, Genesis Community Ambulance of Zanesville also holds the accreditation in central Ohio.
In May, the Gazette learned that the DCEMS’ accreditation had been suspended due to it changing to an “evidence-based, continuous improvement medical protocol,” stated Michael Frommer, county administrator. “It’s a model that we were still in the process of implementing in 2018 when our assessment occurred.”
Director of Communications Jane Hawes said the county had been invited to reapply by Oct. 29, 2019, and mentioned that the areas of deficiency only involved documentation and not the performance of the department.
Fishel publicly acknowledged Assistant Chief of Operations Eric Burgess and his team for their work in getting the accreditation renewed.
“We received word last week that we’ve received our accreditation for a full three-year cycle,” Burgess told commissioners. “We took our site visit Aug. 1-2.”
Burgess said the “external reviewers” inspected everything, including eight areas of deficiencies that were identified previously.
“We put our team together and took care of those deficiencies,” he said.
Burgess said there are 51 national standards that need to be met to be CAAS accredited.
“Those include anything from our organization to interagency relationships, our financial management, human resources, fleet, and facilities,” he said.
Burgess added there are only 189 CAAS accredited EMS departments in the nation.
Frommer said as he spent time talking with one of the reviewers, he discovered that the county probably far exceeded the established standards.
“When you talked to the individual, we far exceeded the metrics,” he said. “I would say of the 189, we were probably in the very top percentage.”
Commissioner Gary Merrell thanked and congratulated everyone involved in the DCEMS for the accreditation.
“We’re very proud of our EMS in the county,” he said. “The health and safety of the residents in this county are extremely important. You guys do a heck of a job in providing that. Thank you very much.”
Commissioner Jeff Benton also thanked all of DCEMS for the tremendous effort put into the accreditation. He said in the past few decades, the industry has become quite complex and very challenging.
“From the training to the protocol, the procedures, the frontline, the ambulance, just everything is much more complex,” he said. “It’s difficult to maintain, because you have to really keep up with what is going on in the field. As Commissioner Merrell said, the health of our constituents, the residents, is the most important thing we can do.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.