After months of discussion, Madison County EMS has a new transport policy.

During the Feb. 12 board of supervisors meeting, a resolution was adopted approving the new policy which transports patients to the closest appropriate emergency department based on medical needs as determined by the attendant in charge.

According to Madison County Director of Emergency Medical Services Noah Hillstrom, the policy change improves patient care and increases the agency’s availability for responding to calls.

The policy states that for most locations in Madison, the closest facility would be Novant Health System University of Virginia Culpeper Hospital. Exceptions to this would be medical situations needing a specialty center including STEMI heart attacks, stroke, serious burns and trauma patients meeting Thomas Jefferson EMS Council Trauma Criteria.

For the southern areas of the county, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital’s free standing emergency department at Profitt Road would be the closest appropriate emergency department. However, the hospital does not accept 20 weeks or greater gestation pregnancy complaints, stoke, STEMI heart attacks, psychiatric patients with homicidal or suicidal ideation, trauma patients meeting Thomas Jefferson EMS Council Trauma Criteria, or resuscitated cardiac arrest.

Air medical transport would be considered in situations where it could offer meaningful time savings and/or when additional specialty care or transport resources are needed.

“This is not saying we’re not going to Charlottesville,” Hillstrom said. “It’s allowing the clinical assessor to determine [the appropriate emergency department].”

County administrator Jack Hobbs said the goal of the policy is to provide the highest quality of care to residents and visitors while leveraging the county’s highly qualified emergency medical services staff.

“This policy clarifies that Madison County trusts its highly proficient first responders to make clinical decisions in medical emergencies,” Hobb said. “In addition to expedited and appropriate care for the individual on the first call, this policy facilitates a return of the ambulance crew to duty for the second and subsequent calls for service.”

The policy change was discussed for several months at both board of supervisors’ meetings and rescue squad meetings. The Madison County Rescue Squad added the policy to its bylaws last month. The policy will be implemented beginning March 1. To view the policy, visit https://www.madisonco.virginia.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/emergency_medical_services/page/7001/ems_-_transport_policy_press_release_190225.pdf

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