Skilled EMS crews continue to provide care

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As your Bonner County EMS medical director, I want to assure you that skilled EMS personnel continue to provide high quality EMS services to our community, despite the temporary gap in leadership following the recent resignation of Robert Bussey, our prior EMS chief.

We are awaiting the decision of the Bonner County Board of Commissioners regarding a possible change in the organizational structure of our EMS System. In making this decision, there are several important considerations:

1. Ensure that even the citizens who reside in the far reaches of our county are served fairly and competently, so that all might expect a prompt and appropriate EMS response when needed.

2. Demonstrate fiscal responsibility by efficient use of county tax dollars.

3. Continue to focus on quality metrics and training of medical skills for our EMS providers.

4. Strengthen the coordinated approach between Bonner County EMS and all partner EMS agencies, as cooperation benefits all.

While important stakeholders have appropriately expressed their opinions, ultimately the decision falls to the Bonner County Board of Commissioners. A prompt resolution is desirable to prevent the current county EMS employees from feeling the need to look for alternative jobs.

My role as medical director is to assure excellent and appropriate medical care through the review of patient care reports, techniques, technologies, new products and treatment guidelines, approval of training classes and provider credentials, and the tracking of quality measures. While some of the committees were put on hold related to this transition, under the guidance of the capable interim chief, Jeffrey Lindsey, we are once again moving forward. Rest assured, our coordinated EMS system as a whole remains staffed by competent professionals, recognized around the state of Idaho for quality and innovation.

Additionally, our EMS community is interested in furthering a partnership with local businesses and citizens in an effort to increase the number of individuals in our county comfortable with performing CPR when needed. We plan to participate in PulsePoint, a phone application to connect CPR-trained citizens with cardiac arrest victims to save lives in our county. Stay tuned as this gets rolled out, and please volunteer to get CPR training so that you, too, may someday save a life.

Dr. Ronald Jenkins resides in Sandpoint and is a cardiologist with Kootenai Heart Clinics, and is the medical director of Bonner County EMS.

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