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St. James Hospital ensures emergency care access for rural patients

Unequitable access to healthcare in rural communities is a persistent challenge for providers, making the use of emergency medical services key to expedient, comprehensive care. When St. James Hospital realized that onsite investment in resources and education for EMS personnel was essential to positive outcomes for their patients, they took steps to ensure training was provided.

St. James Hospital relies heavily on local EMS personnel to provide patient care and transport over a 60-mile radius. The closest EMS training facility is 60 miles away from the hospital, emphasizing the need for localized training to recruit and retain highly qualified EMS personnel. In 1980, St. James Hospital was awarded New York State Department of Health Emergency Medical Services course sponsorship. For more than 40 years, EMS trainings are held onsite once a week, four times a month.

Throughout the course's lifespan, many community members have been trained to address and treat immediate health needs of patients who require ambulance transport. Since the course's conception, St. James has trained around 1,000 EMS personnel ranging from volunteer emergency responders to emergency medical technicians. Some travel over state and county borders to receive their ongoing training. The local Hornell Fire Department responded to 3,315 911 calls in 2020. Without the local training site, paramedics and rural EMS volunteers would not meet the ongoing training mandated by New York state, leaving communities underserved and vulnerable.

For more information, contact Teri Symonds, RN, EMS training coordinator, at teri_symonds@urmc.rochester.edu.