KershawHealth Revamping EMS Division

After an evaluation from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, KershawHealth is revamping some of their EMS practices.

"Almost everything about the job has changed," KershawHealth's EMS Assistant Director Wayne Priester said.

Priester started as a medic in the late 70s and has seen a vast evolution in his line of work.

"When I started on the ambulances many years ago it was in a Pontiac station wagon and our IV bottles were glass," Priester said.

After working with the UNC, Kershaw Health explored factors like the volume of 911 calls, response times and unit locations in its emergency services.

"One of the most startling pieces to me was that half of our response times at our locations on either end of the county reached into Chesterfield County and to Richland County. And we're charged with the mission of serving Kershaw County," KershawHealth CEO Terry Gunn said.

The largest part of the overhaul includes moving a couple stations.

The Lugoff unit will be moved into an old firehouse, but others will need to be completely rebuilt.

"In some other areas such as at the airport location we're going to actually have to put up a structure that we can work out of, but in all those cases we tried to take everything off the table other than what the data tells us is the best place to be to serve the residents of Kershaw County," Gunn said.

The plan will also change the hours at certain units and revamp staffing to match peak call hours.

Many of these changes are being implemented rather quickly.

"We recognize that time is life when it comes to transporting people in an emergency situation," Gunn said.

The plan is expected to save the hospital more than $300,000. They spend about $900,000 annually on their EMS division.


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