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Member Spotlight: January, 2012—Mon Valley Emergency Medical Services

Member Spotlight

Mon Valley EMS was honored by the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce as the January Member Spotlight. Pictured L to R: Robert Vetter, Chad Williams, Raenelle Poziviak and William Hess, Chief.

Do you realize what EMS does...
A message from the Mon Valley EMS

Monessen Ambulance Service (dba) as Mon Valley EMS is a non-profit 501 C (4) organization that was founded in 1969 by a group of individuals that thought emergency services was very important for their community. Since then the service has grown and now provides 24-hour Paramedic service from 3 stations located in Monessen, Donora and Charleroi. Trained professionals provide emergency treatment to the residents or our designated service area of: Monessen, Charleroi, Donora, N. Charleroi, Fallowfield Twp., Speers Boro, Twilight Boro, Dunlevy, Belle Vernon, N. Belle Vernon, Long Branch, Stockdale and Allenport. They operate 7 ambulances, 4 PUC licensed specialty coaches for wheel chair and stretcher bound people. The Strike Team which consists of 3 special rescue service units, one of them a military hummer and also Region 4 task force trailer and mass causality trailer, which has been equipped in conjunction with the counties and Mon Valley Hospital.

Mon Valley EMS has a 24-hour emergency service which provides emergency care when a resident calls the dispatch center. The dispatch center is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the main station at 1001 Donner Avenue in Monessen. Mon Valley EMS is a unique service because it receives call from Washington County 911, Westmoreland County 911 and Fayette County 911 for emergencies.

The employees of Mon Valley EMS are trained in BLS (Basic Life Saving), ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Saving), PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Saving), BVR (Basic Vehicle Rescue), BRP (Basic Rescue Practices), BTLS (Basic Trauma Life Saving), Weapons of Mass Destruction, Hazardous Materials from the awareness level to the technician levels.

Valley Health & Safety training center also operates from the Monessen station as does the billing and business and 24 hour dispatch. The training center offers education in Public CPR, FA, AED and continuing education classes. It is a registered training center for AHA, ASHI and the Dept. of Health. The Training center also works closely with Monongahela Valley Hospital in coordinating their educational classes for the community and PALS and ACLS. Classes are scheduled on a monthly basis at Monongahela Valley Hospital and at the Donner Avenue location.

Valley Health and Safety specializes in large companies and professional organization groups. Courses can be taught at your location or at the Donner Avenue location. Instructor classes in CPR, First Aid and AED are also available as needed. A quarterly brochure is printed and available for distribution by calling the training center. To register for a class or for information on already scheduled class call the training coordinator, Lily Farquhar at 724.684.9536.

Over the past several years there have been many changes in EMS. Of course there have been many changes in everyone's business. Several situations have come up in the last couple years that have but a hardship on EMS services. The immediate problems we are facing today are staffing, decrease in yearly subscriptions and Medicare cut backs.

The Emergency Medical Services Institute recently conducted a survey of ambulance services in the region only to find there is a shortage in the EMS area. They realized the shortage for the reasons vary, however the most common are qualified personnel are accepting positions in the hospitals. Hospitals are also finding ways to cut costs and so they are hiring paramedics to replace RN's. Another problem is low wages. The average paramedic starts at $8.00/hr and tops at around $12.00/hr. The average EMT starts at $7.50/hr. and tops at $9.50/hr. An EMS person usually works several jobs to make ends meet, which brings on another problem of burn out and back problems. Research shows that the career expectancy in EMS is 10 years. Whatever the reasons, there is a very real issue in the field today as ambulance companies struggle to recruit and retain qualified personnel.

Yearly Subscriptions generate a small fraction of revenue. Our subscription rates are Family $65.00, Individual $50.00, Senior Citizen Couple $55.00 and Senior Citizen Individual $40.00 after 10 years it was a must that we raise the rates.

Insurance carriers have the right to deny payment to the ambulance service for services rendered if they determine the emergency to not be medically necessary or not an emergency. Which brings me to "What is an Emergency?" Medicare definition is "Any situation that is life threatening at the time of transport and the patient's condition is such that transportation by any other means is contraindicated (car-van) Examples – Severe bleeding, sudden onset of SOB, sudden onset of chest pain, shock, possible stroke, broken bones that need immobilized, auto accident with injuries.

Some people think that their insurance company pays for ambulance transports however only if they meet the emergency criteria. Very few insurance companies pay 100% of your approved transport. Mon Valley EMS receives no outside funding from local municipalities or government agencies. In addition, there have been drastic cuts by insurance carriers in the reimbursements for services rendered. This has caused a drastic reduction in revenue that is used to continue operations. That has made community support even more crucial. The Mon Valley Emergency Medical Services works hard at supporting all of its communities and trying to stay involved with each of the communities event.

Now you do realize... what we do. EMS responding in seconds... caring for a lifetime. Thank you for your continued support.