Mayor Don Wesely, with the support of the Lancaster County Medical Society, today detailed a plan for the improvement of independent medical oversight related to emergency medical services. The proposal would retain EMS, Inc. as the provider of oversight for the EMS system with some changes to the board make-up. It would also clarify the disciplinary role of the Medical Director and solidify the role of the Medical Direction Board of the Lancaster County Medical Society in developing medical and dispatch protocols.
"Emergency medical service is the practice of medicine on the streets of Lincoln and roads of Lancaster County," Wesely said. "When a citizen calls 911 for an ambulance, he or she is seeking fast, well-trained medical help. We must have independent medical oversight to ensure high quality services. Independent medical oversight is extremely important to the medical community and to me."
"The physicians of the Lancaster County Medical Society have held firm in their belief that independent medical oversight is critical for a well-functioning emergency medical system," said Dr. Daniel P. Noble, President of the Lancaster County Medical Society. "We are encouraged that independent medical oversight will be preserved for the benefit of our patients in Lincoln and the surrounding area,"
The Mayor commended City Council member Coleen Seng, who facilitated the development of the plan. "Coleen has years of experience in negotiating tough issues that are critical to the citizens of Lincoln," Wesely said. "Her assistance in bringing the interested parties together to come up with this proposal was invaluable. Once again, her leadership is of great benefit to the City of Lincoln."
City Council member Jonathan Cook said he was pleased that discussions with the medical community have resulted in a plan with which all parties can be comfortable. "Independent medical oversight has always been the most important issue in this process," he said. "This plan will ensure that patient care always comes first."
The President of the EMS, Inc. Board, Darrell Stock, said the plan has the support of the current board. "The EMS, Inc. Board is obviously very pleased with the decision to preserve truly independent medical oversight," he said. "We believe the announcement today presents an opportunity to strengthen medical oversight and the independence of the medical oversight agency. The Board is committed to making the transition as smooth as possible for all concerned."
The plan includes the following provisions:
The proposed changes would be implemented by an amendment to the current contract and the development of a transition document. Both would need the approval of the Lincoln City Council. The changes would become effective on January 1, 2001.
"It is in the best interests of all of us that the quality of care from the emergency scene to the emergency room be as seamless and as high quality as possible," Wesely said. "I am pleased the city, the county and the medical community are working cooperatively to provide for truly independent medical oversight of our paramedics."