Below is a statement from Greenville Health System in response to a proposed agreement with Greenville County to run the EMS department.
Marty Lutz, MD, chief of emergency medical transport services, Greenville Health System:
This proposal is nothing more than an enhancement of what's already in place and has been in place for more than 30 years. The accountability for EMS rests with Greenville County, Greenville Health System provides medical management of EMS, and we have a system that honors patient choice. None of that changes. We simply believe, in partnership with the county, that GHS providing day-to-day management will provide additional opportunities for us to increase healthy outcomes for our community, all the while saving both healthcare and county taxpayer dollars.
GHS has provided medical direction and other support to Greenville County EMS for more than 30 years. By expanding the long-time collaboration, we believe we can move in a new direction that will not only help improve patient outcomes but keep people healthier – and potentially out of emergency rooms or hospitals altogether. “Pre-hospital” care is increasingly being used by national innovators to significantly improve care while cutting costs, and we want to bring that model to Greenville County. The new approach would harness EMS' award-winning knowledge and skills and place paramedics in the community as part of an innovative prevention strategy. Not only would healthcare access be expanded and care improved, but the measure – since it would ultimately help keep people healthier and out of the emergency department – would also significantly reduce healthcare costs to the patient, county taxpayers and even employers and government providers. Under the proposal, Greenville County will contract with GHS to operate EMS. Under the proposal, Greenville County would retain oversight of EMS. A Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee, which includes representatives from both GHS and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, has been in place for years and will continue to meet regularly to review dispatch, operations and quality metrics of EMS transports. This is not about market share; this is about improving the health of our community. Patient choice and treating all patients equally will continue to be respected just as it's been during all the previous decades in which GHS provided medical oversight for EMS.
Under the proposal, GHS commits to operating EMS services using mutually agreed-upon performance measures that are benchmarked to industry standards. This includes response times, deployment models, patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. By leveraging strengths of GHS' nationally-recognized academic health center with one of S.C.'s leading EMS systems, we can make our community healthier and save money for both patients and taxpayers.
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