AHA honors 8 Pa. EMS providers

The award recognizes services for consistently doing EKGs for heart patients and transporting quickly

By Matthew Nojiri
Reading Eagle

WEST READING, Pa. — Patients who believe they are having a heart attack should call 9-1-1.

That first call will increase the odds of survival because it triggers a chain of care that has been rehearsed many times over, said Alex Kuhn, senior director for quality and systems improvement for the American Heart Association.

"We're here to talk about lives saved," Kuhn said. "I think it's important for citizens of this community to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and call 9-1-1.

"You have high-quality EMS agencies working with high-quality hospitals in a very integrated system."

On Tuesday, eight emergency medical service providers in the region received awards from the American Heart Association. The award recognizes emergency medical companies that consistently do electrocardiograms or EKGs for heart patients in transit to the hospital and get them there quickly.

Western Berks Ambulance Association, Southern Berks Regional EMS and the Reading EMS received the American Heart Association Mission Lifeline Gold Award; Muhlenberg and Exeter Township Fire and Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company EMS received the Silver Award; and Boyertown Community Ambulance Association and Bally EMS received the Bronze Award.

Dozens of EMS, hospital caregivers, administrators and elected officials attended the event at Reading Hospital.

The EMS providers and the two area hospitals in the region work together to care for heart patients, said Dr. Charles F. Barbera, chairman of the emergency medicine department for the Reading Health System.

"Both of our organizations in the county are honored to really be part and partners with EMS in improving the heart care and the quality of heart care and the outcomes for patients with acute coronary disease and (heart attacks)," Barbera said.

Ed Moreland, chief of Western Berks Ambulance, said the awards highlight the level of care provided long before patients reach the hospital.

"To be able to recognize many organizations who have been doing pre-hospital EKGs for many years and leading the region, it's nice to get more recognition as we elevate the level of care that we provide," he said.

Moreland stressed patients should call 9-1-1 if they feel like they are having a heart attack. The symptoms include chest pain, difficulty breathing, arm pain, nausea and vomiting.

"It's the best way to get early intervention and the highest quality care you can," he said.

Copyright 2016 the Reading Eagle

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