EMS is now able to provide a higher level of emergency care for seriously ill or injured patients. A recent license upgrade changed our designation from BLS with ALS capabilities to BLS with MICU capabilities.
Here's what this new designation means to you. DSHS (Department of State Health Services) issues several types of licenses to EMS Providers (the agency) and the Personnel (the caregivers in the ambulance).
The various license designations are: Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS), Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU), BLS with ALS Capabilities, BLS with MICU Capabilities, ALS with MICU Capabilities.
An ambulance licensed at the BLS level can only operate at the BLS level regardless of qualifications of the caregivers. The BLS level provides only basic interventions, including oxygen and bleeding control.
The ALS level provides a slightly higher level of care, including the administration of IVs and more advanced airway skills.
The MICU level allows the agency and Dr. Craig White, our medical director, to establish protocols for medications including pain management, heart monitor pacing, defibrillation, more advanced airway procedures, chest decompression and sychronized cardio version. These procedures can save lives and limit damage if performed in time.
The various licensing designations allow an agency to have some flexibility in staffing. When a paramedic is available, they may operate at the higher level; when only a basic crew is available, that crew may operate only at the Basic level. If this licensing option were not chosen, the ambulance would be required to have the level of personnel that can perform those skills at all times.
Our EMS recently hired both full and part time staff to supplement our volunteer roster. With this additional staff, we were able to secure grant funding for equipment that allowed us to upgrade to BLS with MICU capabilities. So, if a Paramedic is on duty, the paramedic can and will perform up to their skill level. Prior to this change, the paramedic on duty could only operate at the lower BLS with ALS capabilities. This change can make a real difference in the quality of lifesaving care that's available to our patients.
Currently, EMS has three Provider Licenses (one for each ambulance). The two older ambulances are licensed as BLS with ALS capabilities. Our newest ambulance is now licensed as BLS with MICU capabilities. As additional funding becomes available, we hope to upgrade the older vehicles.
Funding for the Cardiac Monitor (which costs more than $20,000) and was required to receive the MICU license was provided by the Capitol Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council (CAT-RAC).
San Saba County EMS would like to thank everyone who helped us get the upgraded license. This is obviously a big step forward for our community.
If you have any questions or would like to become a volunteer, please contact us at 325-372-6016. We're looking not only for people to work in direct care, we are also looking to expand our membership to include an "auxiliary" membership which may be utilized for Fund Raising, Public Relations, Injury Prevention, Public Education and Training, etc.
If you have a passion for the community and would like to volunteer to work with a team of individuals that also have a passion to HELP, then stop by or call.