May 20 through 26 was National Emergency Medical Services week. If you ask an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) why he or she chose their job they will likely tell you, it's not a job-it's a calling. Minnie Hamilton Health System would like to take time out this week and recognize the dedicated EMS staff working at their facility.

Minnie Hamilton Health System Emergency Medical Services began operations on April 13th 1998. In the beginning Minnie Hamilton Health System employed (3) full time Paramedics and (2) full time EMT's. The service was operated on a 24 hour per day basis and had (1) advanced life support equipped ambulance. Today we have on staff (4) full time Paramedics, (6) EMT's, (11) emergency vehicle operators, and operate (2) fully equipped advanced life support ambulances. We also have at our disposal, when needed, (5) RN's, (2) Physician Assistants, (1) Nurse Practitioner, and (2) MD's who serve as our medical directors.

The main goal of the service in the beginning was to ensure that patients at Minnie Hamilton Health System who needed transferred to another facility for a higher level of care, (Intensive care unit, Cardiac care unit, Emergency surgery and Emergency Pediatric care) received that service in a timely manner and received the highest level of care while in our ambulances.

Today our goal remains the same but we have found it necessary to expand our services. In 2006, Minnie Hamilton Health System EMS began providing Specialized Critical Care Transports, not only for Minnie Hamilton patients but also to patients at hospitals in the West Central portion of West Virginia.

Paramedics and Registered Nurses employed by Minnie Hamilton received special training to expand their scope of care. With the completion of this training Minnie Hamilton Health System now employs the highest trained pre-hospital and inter-facility transport Paramedics and Registered Nurses in West Virginia.

Our Paramedics and EMTs also provide care in the Emergency Department and the Clinics at Minnie Hamilton. We transport our Long Term Care patients to other doctor appointments such as Dentist and eye doctors and provide advanced life support Paramedic response to the area EMS agencies when they do not have that service available to them. To date, we have transported over 5,000 patients, and logged over 500,000 miles in our ambulances.

Qualifications for becoming a part of Minnie Hamilton Health System EMS are Emergency Vehicle Operators (EVOs) are certified with an Emergency Vehicle Operators course completion certificate, CPR and First Aid. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are currently certified through the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services (WVOEMS) by completing an approved EMT course and successfully passing a National Registry exam and re-certification by passing a state exam.

Paramedics are currently certified through the WVOEMS by completing an approved Paramedic course and passing a National Registry written and practical exam with state refresher exams taken every two (2) to four (4) years. Critical Care crews consist of an EVO, Paramedic and Registered Nurse with the Paramedic and Registered Nurse completing a specialized course administered by the WVOEMS that extends their scope of practice.

Our staff is also actively involved in community education with CPR and first aid classes held at Minnie Hamilton Health System. These classes are held on a periodic basis and are open to the public free of charge. If you would like to know more or become a part of the Minnie Hamilton Health System EMS you may contact Bill Ellis or Mike Moody at (304)354-9244.

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