In April of 2010, Jersey City Medical Center Emergency Medical Services received a full three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) for its compliance with national standards of excellence. We were the third agency in New Jersey and one of only 159 agencies in the country to have successfully received this voluntary accreditation. CAAS was established to encourage and promote the highest standards and quality patient care.
The process began with reviewing the extensive and comprehensive list of CAAS standards to ensure eligibility. Our goal was to provide high-quality patient care by meeting or exceeding the standards established by the Commission. The process allowed us to look at our agency from every angle and encouraged us to seek out and create best practices.
We then submitted several copies of our nearly 3,000 page application for review. The Commission team reviewed the application and provided feedback. There are more than 100 standards, including standards for agency management; financial management, budgeting and strategic planning; relations with outside agencies; mutual aid and disaster coordination; community education and relations; human resources and personnel management, hiring, credentialing, training, management; vehicles, equipment, and facilities; and communications/dispatch. Once the application was complete and accepted, CAAS promptly scheduled our on-site review. A team of three reviewers spent two days verifying that our paperwork matched our practices and reviewing our operation as a whole. From there, a report was sent to an independent, impartial Panel of Commissioners for final approval. We achieved this accreditation with “no deficiencies cited” in our final site report.
The entire process was such an eye opening, enriching and educational experience. Our team of dedicated employees really pulled together to accomplish our ultimate goal, to provide the highest quality patient care to our community.
On September 17, 2010, Jersey City Medical Center Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has become the first EMS educational program in New Jersey to be accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). CAAHEP is a programmatic postsecondary accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The accreditation is designed to improve the quality of EMS care through education and meet the needs of our diverse communities of interest. Jersey City Medical Center was granted a full five year accreditation indicating that we met or exceeded the national standards for our EMT-Paramedic Program that is offered in collaboration with Hudson County Community College.
The Jersey City Medical Center EMT-Paramedic Program began in 2003 and this September marks its eighth class. Our enrollment in the program continues to grow as our current class began with 22 students. In the history of the program, 49 students have completed the academic portion. Many of these graduates transition into employees at the Jersey City Medical Center where they serve the residents of greater Hudson County
“We’re very proud of this designation, which also lets our EMT and paramedic students know they are enrolled in a program with the very highest of professional standards,” said Christopher Rinn, Executive Director, EMS, Jersey City Medical Center.
In October of 2010, the Jersey City Medical Center EMS Department was recognized as an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED). This honor demonstrates the commitment of JCMC EMS call takers and dispatchers to provide the best possible level of care at all times. JCMC EMS is the first dispatch center in New Jersey, and one of only 102 in the world, to receive this honor
The newly accredited dispatch center for the EMS Department at Jersey City Medical Center, known as HUDCEN, is located within the Jersey City Medical Center and proudly serves the residents and visitors of Hudson County as a primary service dispatch point (PSDP), and fulfills the role of the 9-1-1 emergency medical call screening center for greater Hudson County. Each year the dispatchers and supervisors answer and medically screen nearly 90,000 calls for service in Hudson County. In addition, the call takers are able to provide a “zero response time” to patients in need of lifesaving procedures. These instructions can be as simple telling the caller to have someone meet the paramedics or turn on their porch light or can be as complex as providing instructions for CPR, defibrillator use, and even childbirth. Being accredited means that these life saving interventions are performed consistently and uniformly by the dedicated staff of HUDCEN time and time again in the pursuit of excellence and fulfill the role of Jersey City Medical Center's mission of Enhancing Life.
The application process to become an ACE accredited dispatch center is a long and precise task. Months of training, statistical data, research, documentation, and planning are required. After the application is complete, an NAED auditor reviews the application, checks Protocol Compliance against randomly selected events, and provides a recommendation to the Board of Accreditation. At that time, if the center achieves the "Twenty Points" for Accreditation, they are awarded the distinguished honor of being an ACE.
"By obtaining ACE accreditation, we are showing our community that we are providing the highest levels of service”, Christopher Rinn Executive Director of EMS stated; "This accreditation was a major objective in our strategic plan and has taken us over a year to achieve. We are proud to be the first center in New Jersey to achieve this honor. This gives our call takers and dispatchers the recognition they deserve for their dedication to their work in EMS call taking and dispatching." Communications Supervisor Cheryl Delikat remarked that; “Internally this journey fostered an environment of cohesiveness and uniformity amongst the dispatchers and supervisors in our Communications Center.”
While entering emergency call details into the Tritech CAD system, EMS call takers can quickly launch ProQA, a program that presents them with key questions, potentially life-saving instructions, and response recommendations based on the emergency. The interaction between the caller and the call taker is then recorded in the CAD details and provided to response teams so they are better prepared when they arrive on scene. This seamless integration ensures that every call taker provides the same high standard of service regardless of when the call is received or which telecommunicator receives it, a key requirement for achieving ACE accreditation. EMT/Dispatcher Steve Job summarized the process; “It’s important to remember that this wasn’t an individual journey, this accomplishment was a team effort.”
The Jersey City Medical Center EMS is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP).
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