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WV EMS Conference Underway

October 20th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

More than 150 EMS personnel from across West Virginia are at Canaan Valley Resort this week for the 2016 West Virginia EMS Conference to discuss strategies for improving patient care and ambulance squad operations as regulatory and economic pressures continue to challenge their ability to deliver 911 response.

Sponsored by the West Virginia EMS Coalition, the conference is designed to keep medical first responders operating at high efficiency levels and informed of policy changes that affect the state’s emergency medical service community.

“I have been associated with EMS for nearly 20 years and this is the most challenging environment that I can recall for our industry. Ambulance squads across West Virginia are increasingly challenged by burdensome health care regulations, rising costs and stagnant reimbursement rates from health insurance providers,” said Chris Hall, Executive Director of the WV EMS Coalition.

“These problems are being compounded by the state’s economic difficulties particularly in the coal producing counties. Unlike police and fire departments, Ambulance squads in West Virginia receive very little funding from state, county and local governments to support their services. And many squads are seeing the limited funding they do received reduced as county property and coal severance tax revenues decline. The 2016 WV EMS Conference provides the opportunity for the emergency medical services community to hear from national and regional speakers that can offer assistance in facing these challenges and help teach our paramedics and EMTs best practices in patient care.”

The conference’s management courses offer information for EMS supervisors to help them gain and grow critical skills to help them lead their squads. The clinical courses focus on trauma response and field situations. All courses are geared to ensure that the EMS members in attendance will receive the most up-to-date information and training available in the state. The training will also focus on how to handle real-life scenarios.

“Extensive efforts have been made to diversify our speakers and ensure that we are providing educational opportunities that might not otherwise be available,” said Hall. “There are few opportunities in the state for our EMS personnel to expand their education and network in order to share experiences and industry best practices. This conference offers these opportunities.”

Melissa Raynes, Director for the WV Bureau for Public Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services and Dr. Michael Mills, West Virginia Office of EMS Medical Director, will serve as the conference’s keynote speakers.

In her role, Raynes is responsible for the overall operations and leadership for ensuring the provision of qualified and credentialed pre-hospital care to patients via the Emergency Medical Services and Trauma/Stroke programs throughout West Virginia. Mills has served as Executive Medical Director and EMS Medical Director for multiple hospitals and various EMS and Fire Rescue Agencies across West Virginia and Florida since the early 1980s.

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