The Regional Emergency Medical Service Authority (REMSA), Northern Nevada’s nationally-recognized ground ambulance service and Care Flight, Northern Nevada and Northern California’s critical care and air ambulance transport service, today announced that they will now be known collectively as REMSA Health. The brand update is intended to better reflect what the organization has been, and is doing, for Northern Nevada in terms of innovative healthcare services outside of the hospital setting.
Additionally, this year REMSA and Care Flight will celebrate their 35th and 40th anniversaries respectively. While REMSA ambulances have responded to approximately 70,000 requests for service per year, Care Flight ensures that residents in Nevada’s rural areas like Gardnerville, Truckee and Fallon have immediate access to emergency care, transporting an average of 1,500 patients per year to regional trauma centers. Care Flight also operates the ground 9-1-1 ambulance service for Plumas District Hospital in Quincy, CA.
“Health care has changed dramatically and so has the way that REMSA and Care Flight respond to calls for medical care,” said Dean Dow, President and CEO of REMSA Health. “Populations need different approaches to accessing care, including receiving care when and where they need it. REMSA Health more fully expresses our true role in this community, which reaches beyond emergency medical services and into innovative programing for integrated community and population health, strategic partnerships, community leadership and health education and prevention.”
REMSA Health has always been innovative and ahead of others in its field in providing solutions to care outside of the hospital setting. The organization has a unique structure as a non-profit organization in which it is regulated by the three local governments but does not receive any local taxpayer money. To consider REMSA and Care Flight as just public safety or transport is limiting and does not fully reflect the contributions of the organization’s emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics and nurses.
“Rural locations like Tonopah, Nevada and Plumas County, California are often extremely remote and have limited access to critical healthcare resources,” said Dow. “Rural health care is suffering nationally and our region is no exception. REMSA Health has developed innovative means of serving them and that platform is now a key component of our organization.”
The variety of programs offered by REMSA Health that go beyond just ambulance transport include community and healthcare professional education, special event medical coverage, Tactical Emergency Medical Service (TEMS) Search and Rescue, the Nurse Health Line, Community Paramedicine and transport to alternative destinations.
With a $10 million grant award by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2011, REMSA Health served as the nationwide model for the recently developed federal ET3 program (Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport), focused on reducing the unnecessary use of emergency healthcare services, both for ambulance transports and emergency room visits. About 30 percent of the calls that REMSA Health responds to are for first-aid level complaints – things like sprained ankles, sore throats and toothaches.
Through ET3, REMSA Health is now able to offer Medicare beneficiaries alternate care options, such as a telehealth virtual visit, instead of a trip to the emergency room. As a result, the patient is able to be treated entirely at home and the highest level of emergency medical services remain available for the most critical emergencies. Today, REMSA Health is one of 205 emergency medical service agencies selected by the federal government participating in ET3.
“Because of our dedication to caring for the people in our communities, the federal government and other experts in health care have recognized REMSA Health’s accomplishments, quality and innovation and that speaks volumes about our organization,” said Dow. “From being one of the first helicopter EMS programs in the country to embracing a unique public utility model for ground transport, REMSA Health’s pioneering spirit has been a guiding principle since the beginning. The name REMSA Health truly reflects who we have been for decades, who we are today and who we will continue to be in the future.”