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Iowa county to create EMS advisory group addressing future ALS service

Jasper County officials aim to focus on providing countywide ALS certification, service to every citizen


Jasper County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

By Christopher Braunschweig
Newton Daily News

JASPER COUNTY, Iowa — Jasper County Emergency Management Agency is creating an advisory group to help build out the EMS system across the county and be eligible for state grants. Jamey Robinson, director of Jasper County EMA, said last week that the group should consist of EMS directors, a medical director and a county supervisor.

During the April 2 board of supervisors meeting, Robinson solicited the help of a county supervisor who would be willing to volunteer their time and serve in the EMS advisory group. Robinson said the group would likely meet monthly or at least more frequently early on but eventually transition to quarterly meetings.

With the recent addition of Steve Ashing as deputy director of Jasper County EMA, Robinson is excited for the department to “get things rolling and on track” in order to “get a product that everyone can be happy with” and also address EMS concerns across the entire county.

Supervisor Brandon Talsma volunteered to join the group. Robinson said he would be sitting in on meetings and discussions, and he will provide feedback when needed. Especially when funding is concerned. Robinson said it will be a couple months before the group is fully established.

“We want to lay some groundwork,” Robinson said. “Like I said, since Steve started yesterday and this will kind of be his main focus; that’s what this position was originally started for. But we want to get some things laid out so you’re not just walking into a blank piece of paper.”

In a follow-up with Newton News, Robinson said building out an EMS system across the county involves recognizing the challenges faced by volunteer EMS providers. Many of them are often juggling between demanding schedules and commitments outside of their emergency response roles.

With many volunteers also balancing full-time jobs and other responsibilities, it can be challenging to ensure round-the-clock availability for EMS services, Robinson said; recruiting and retaining people willing to commit to extensive EMT and/or paramedic training is becoming increasingly difficult, too.

“By establishing a countywide EMS system, our aim is to address these challenges by ensuring that all EMS services have the capability to function at a paramedic level, providing advanced life support (ALS) care to all citizens, regardless of their location or the availability of volunteer responders,” he said.

Robinson added the primary goal of the advisory group is to generate actionable strategies and recommendations that will lead to tangible improvements in EMS services, such as increased availability to trained personnel and medical resources, improved provider coordination and enhanced response times.

Ultimately, Robinson is hoping for better patient outcomes. Which is difficult to achieve with the current challenges faced by EMS providers, such as resource limitations, disparities in service delivery and the need for improved coordination and communication.

“The advisory group will address these concerns by fostering collaboration, identifying priority areas for improvement, and developing strategic action plans to address gaps in service delivery, resource allocation, and emergency preparedness,” Robinson said.

Jasper County EMA highlights its commitment to building on “the exemplary work” initiated by supervisors, sheriff John Halferty and Jasper County Sheriff’s Office with the county’s ALS response cars. This past work will go a long way in establishing the EMS system Robinson wants to see.

“By leveraging this foundation, we endeavor to establish a seamlessly integrated EMS network that optimizes resources, bolsters response times and elevates patient outcomes across the entire county,” Robinson said.

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