2017-07-16 / Marketplace

Medstar earns fourth consecutive perfect score in accreditation process

LAPEER — The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) has awarded full accreditation to Medstar Ambulance. The panel of commissioners extended the commendation to Medstar for outstanding achievement in compliance with national standards for Best Practices in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Industry.

Medstar remains one of an elite group of only 170 EMS providers in the United States to successfully meet the standards of the CAAS. Medstar has been continuously accredited since 1998, and was one of the first EMS agencies in the state and country to seek the voluntary and exhaustive review. The 2017 review resulted in Medstar’s fourth consecutive perfect score in the accreditation process.

CAAS accreditation is based on more than 100 standards of excellence, and agencies seeking accreditation must submit extensive documentation demonstrating internal policies and external practices for patient care, personnel training, safety, legal compliance, and engagement with the communities and healthcare agencies served. Upon completion of the external review by a national review panel, a team of surveyors is sent to the agency to review clinical programs, safety and business practices, and continuous quality improvement programs. Because the CAAS standards far exceed state requirements, the state of Michigan exempts CAAS accredited agencies from its annual inspection process.

The CAAS is led by representatives from the American Ambulance Association, American College of Surgeons, American College of Emergency Physicians, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of EMS Physicians, National Association of EMTs, National Association of State EMS Directors, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Chris Candela, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Lapeer Region, said “Maintaining such a prestigious accreditation over an extended period of time is a testament to the quality that Medstar represents. It demonstrates a commitment to excellence in clinical care, compassionate service, safety and personnel development. The fact that they have maintained such a high level of performance over more than a decade is impressive for any accredited healthcare provider.”

Following the commission’s recent announcement, Medstar Director of Operations Scott Hicks, and RN and paramedic, said, “Medstar continues to meet the highest standards of the EMS industry, and we use external validation to validate our quality metrics and performance. While anyone can claim to provide good service, the external review from the commission, as well as our nationally benchmarked patient satisfaction survey process, provides a level of validation that few are able to demonstrate.”

Elba Township Supervisor Mike Boskee stated, “I don’t know of any other agency that places the value on quality care, external oversight, and review in the way that Medstar does. Their commitment to excellence impacts every patient in the communities that they serve, and was likely clear to everyone in the accreditation process. My family has intentionally requested Medstar on several occasions, and I just can’t say enough about the care and kindness that we received.”

Medstar has recently completed another application and site survey process through the national Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Profession (CoAEMSP,) an accreditation usually held by hospital and college based EMS education programs. Hicks said that while the committee report had not been finalized, “we were excited to learn that there was no required follow up material, or program changes recommended, so we are looking forward to the same news as we received from CAAS.”

When the education accreditation is received, Medstar will be the only EMS agency in Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, or Wayne counties to have received such distinction. EMS agencies without CoAEMSP accreditation are not permitted to hold paramedic licensure training programs.

CAAS is a non-profit organization which was established to encourage and promote Best Practices in America’s medical transportation system. Focus of CAAS standards is high quality patient care, safety, and operational excellence. The commission established national standards, also known as the “Gold Standards,” address not only the delivery of patient care, but the organization’s overall quality and professional practices, including its relationships with other healthcare organizations, public safety agencies, the public, and other community stakeholders.

CAAS accredited agencies include non-profit, for profit, municipal, fire department, and hospital based ambulance agencies throughout the country. Medstar is a not-for-profit organization started in 1993 when two Mt. Clemens area hospitals recognized the need for quality EMS service in the community, and that the ongoing costs of quality care and investment in clinical technologies could not be carried by local cities and townships.

In the 24 years since its formation, Medstar has grown to serve 4000 square miles throughout Genesee, Ingham, Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties, and responds to more than 90,000 requests for emergency and inter-facility service annually. Medstar is also a recognized leader in the state and local initiative to use paramedics to support patients in their homes after an in-patient hospital stay.

Medstar CEO Kolby Miller added, “CAAS Accreditation represents a dedication to excellence from every one of the 404 people in our organization. From our fleet mechanics to our field EMTs and paramedics, our communications and business office to our education personnel, this organization is fully committed to providing the highest quality, most compassionate patient care available in the communities and facilities that we serve.” He continued, “We will continue to seek new ways to improve and provide value, and to integrate the highest standards of clinical care, safety, and performance throughout our organization. I am incredibly proud to work with a team that is so dedicated to clinical and service excellence, and at the same time, so committed to the most compassionate, caring patient interaction at every single opportunity.”

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