Bill May Harm Work of Emergency Services

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. -- Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad Director Kim Craig hopes a bill, which would replace regional protocols with statewide protocols for medical care in an emergency, doesn't pass.

Currently, Virginia is split into regions, each with doctors or OMDs, who set protocols for squads to follow based on each region's need.

“They're going to look at things statewide, and not at what needs to happen locally,” said Craig. “What needs to happen in our region, so we can take better care of our patients? So, I do have a concern. Will that standard change?”

Hospitals in our region can be as many as 40 minutes away for some people. Craig said each region has different needs and a statewide protocol could mean less specialized care.

Central Shenandoah EMS Council Director Chad Blosser said he doubts the proposed statewide protocol is meant to harm EMS squads, but he hopes that won't happen if it passes.

“It's troubling and it's concerning that we see this kind of language coming out without a great deal of thought and discussion from the EMS community as a whole,” said Blosser.

Statewide protocol could mean less flexibility to use different techniques in an emergency. The Staunton-Augusta Squad and other Valley squads have won statewide awards thanks to those techniques.

“Our live-saving techniques are the tops,” said Craig, “We're tops because of our medical control review committee and the proposals that our OMDs are allowed to establish.”

That could change, but Craig wants to keep protocols in the control of regional, not state, leaders when it comes to an emergency. She said it's important to do what's right for our region.

“We really think it's important that this bill not pass.”

Del. Robert Orrock introduced the bill. He represents Virginia's 54th district, covering parts of Spotsylvania and Caroline Counties.

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