ST. CLAIR COUNTY — Statistics from 2019 show Tri-Hospital EMS responded to just over 200 calls each in the village of Capac and Mussey Township. Their ambulance crews were dispatched to 159 calls in Berlin Township and 61 in Lynn Township during the last calendar year too. Approximately 50 percent or more of those calls resulted in transports to local hospitals.

Additionally their crews were on standby during fire incidents—four in Mussey Township and one each in Berlin Twp. and the village.

Twenty-nineteen was a busy year for Tri-Hospital EMS who saw their calls increase by 2.1 percent.

Ken Cummings, President and CEO of the Tri-Hospital EMS Corporation, said the service’s crews responded to a total of 22,147 calls across their coverage area in 2019, an increase of about 2.1 percent from 2018.

“We’re seeing the bulk of our growth not so much in 911 calls but in an increase in inter-facility transfers to Detroit-area hospitals,” Cummings said.

“It’s a trend we’re seeing statewide especially as you see hospitals merge into larger health systems. Local hospitals are transferring patients to more tertiary care facilities in their own systems.”

Tri-Hospital’s report to municipalities also included response time averages, something Cummings said they use as an internal measure of their promptness from the time of the call until they arrive on scene.

Locally, the EMS service met the standard of 12 minutes or less an average of 91.1 percent of the time for Berlin, 100 percent for Capac and Lynn and 98.7 percent for Mussey.

“Our goal is to stay at or below that number of 90 percent of the requests we have,” he noted.

Going forward in 2020, Cummings said that Tri-Hospital EMS is making strides to launch a community paramedic program. This arrangement would have paramedics visiting patients in their homes after they’ve been discharged from the hospital.

“Staff would visit with them and make sure they understand and follow the instructions they’ve been given. They can also do an overall safety and wellness check too,” he said.

The goal is to prevent patients from needing to return to the hospital for additional care. Currently, Medicare penalizes care facilities when those who are ill are re-admitted within 30 days of their original stay.

“We’re really at the very beginning stages of talking to hospitals and working with the State of Michigan to develop protocols,” Cummings said.

The community paramedic program is a statewide initiative and there’s already some 12-15 in existence that Tri-Hospital can borrow ideas from.

Tri-Hospital EMS is a non-profit organization that’s a cooperative service of McLaren Port Huron, Trinity and St. John River District hospitals. They’ve been servicing the St. Clair County area for more than 25 years.