Mercy, sheriff's office partner in new dispatch program

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Staff | July 29, 2014

ELKHORN—The Walworth County Sheriff's Office, Mercy Health System and other area health systems have implemented a program that not only has the potential to save more lives, but could serve as a model for similar partnerships across Wisconsin.

The Emergency Medical Dispatch program, designed by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International, is a systematic program of handling medical calls for assistance. Trained tele-communicators, using locally-approved EMD guide cards, can quickly and properly determine the nature and priority of the call, dispatch the appropriate response and then give the caller instructions to help treat the patient until the responding EMS unit arrives.

The program was initiated in May to provide a higher level of service to callers with medical emergencies. The Walworth County Sheriff's Office received 446 calls for emergency medical services in June alone.

“Our focus is on saving lives in an event of a medical emergency,” said Undersheriff Kurt Picknell. “With this new program, advanced care can begin right away while the ambulance is responding.”

Under trained direction from EMS Medical Director of Mercy Health System Jay MacNeal, Mercy provided instructors to work with dispatchers for additional emergency medical training for these calls.

“It's a great way for us to leverage time, resources, efforts and opportunities into what we know will be better pre-hospital care for the community,” MacNeal said. “We are already seeing more lives saved from this relationship. This program will continue to be beneficial to our community while providing a model for other communities who want to leverage their resources in the same way.”  

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