August 1, 2009
Fort HealthCare’s network of emergency medical services (EMS) responders are many times the first to care for a patient, as they are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ten years ago, Fort HealthCare created the Paramedic Intercept program. The program was designed to supplement the existing EMS systems in Jefferson County as well as Western Waukesha, Eastern Dane, northern Walworth Counties and Rock County.
The Paramedic Intercept program provides advanced life-saving care at the scene of an accident or illness and is the first program of its kind offered by any hospital in Wisconsin. Fort HealthCare’s licensed paramedics, who are emergency medical technicians (EMTs) with the highest level of additional training, travel in a four-wheel drive vehicle containing life-saving equipment and medications and meet local rescue services en route to the hospital. The Fort HealthCare paramedics and local EMTs work together, treating the patient according to guidelines prepared by the Fort Memorial Hospital emergency department physicians.The Fort HealthCare paramedics are recognized for their skill and dedication to treating patients as if they were members of their own family. Kevin Kaminski, the Fort HealthCare EMS coordinator, knows first hand the value that the Paramedic Intercept program brings to the community, “We respond to about 750 calls per year, which is roughly 20 percent of all 911 calls in our service area. Whether it is pain control, sudden cardiac arrest, respiratory emergencies, child birth, trauma or just to hold the hand of a frightened person because of the emergency they are experiencing, our paramedics are on duty and we enhance the pre-hospital care people receive with our program.” The Fort HealthCare Paramedic Intercept program serves ten area rescue squads and is staffed with paramedics who work in the Fort Memorial Hospital emergency department. There is no charge to patients for the service. Cost for the program, paid entirely from Fort HealthCare operations, was $226,000.