CKHS and EMStar Reach Agreement on Patient Transport Services
- CKHS and EMStar Ambulance recently reached an agreement designed to ensure the most reliable transport services for patients.
- EMStar ambulances will be the chosen provider of transport services when all Crozer-Keystone Emergency Medical Services vehicles are busy and a patient needs to be transported to a CKHS facility.
Southeast Pennsylvania’s largest ambulance company and Delaware County’s largest health system have reached an agreement designed to ensure the most reliable transport services for patients.
Under the deal, Philadelphia-based EMStar Ambulance becomes a dedicated provider for Crozer-Keystone Health System (CKHS) patients. EMStar ambulances will be the chosen transport service provider when all Crozer-Keystone Emergency Medical Services vehicles are busy and a patient needs to be transported to a CKHS facility. EMStar will maintain two transportation coordinators at Crozer-Chester Medical Center from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to assist with these services.
“By partnering with Crozer-Keystone, we are able to provide better care and better outcomes. Our employees work within the hospitals, which means we can give answers in real time,” says EMStar CEO Joseph Zupnik.
“The Crozer-Keystone Emergency Medical Services team has served our community for decades. Because we are the leading provider of emergency and tertiary health care services in the county, however, we sometimes need assistance with the transport of patients between our hospitals. We think that our new arrangement with EMStar will help us to increase efficiencies and enhance patient care,” says Patrick Gavin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Crozer-Keystone Health System and president of Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
Under the previous system, Crozer-Keystone was served by a variety of ambulance companies. If the first provider called wasn’t available, the health system’s hospitals would move on to the next. Sometimes, this created delays and inefficiencies. Under the new arrangement, EMStar can tap into its entire fleet to ensure than an ambulance is always available when it’s needed.
“Communication is also improved because the two sides are working as a team, so everyone knows what’s going on with respect to the patient, what his or her needs are and where he or she is going,” says Suzanne Shubert, EMStar customer care manager. “Hospital staff members have just one number to call, no matter which Crozer-Keystone site they’re calling from.”
Crozer-Keystone hospitals’ emergency departments total more than 135,000 visits each year. The health system includes three cancer centers, a Level II trauma center, a burn treatment center, a kidney transplant center and advanced cardiac and surgical offerings. Crozer-Keystone paramedics are highly trained and qualified, holding certifications in Basic Cardiac Life Support (CPR), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS). Members are also specialized in the medical management of hazardous material causalities.
Most ambulance rides are not of a life-and-death nature; 80 percent of trips are non-emergency. Some transports take patients from one hospital to another. Other patients require rides from a hospital to rehab or a nursing home. Patients may have a condition such as a stroke, in which they must be transported in a specific way.
In addition to its ambulance service, EMStar provides a dedicated paratransit program for patients in Crozer-Keystone’s behavioral health programs who commute to a program at Crozer Monday through Friday. This represents an additional cost savings to the health system.
“The relationship with Crozer has been fantastic. Both sides have the same goals, and we are working together to reach those goals,” Zupnik says. “As we grow, we buy more vehicles and hire more paramedics. We have promised to always be there with an ambulance and we can’t risk falling short on that promise.”
For more information about EMStar, visit www.emstarambulance.com.