New Hanover Regional Medical Center is celebrating 20 years since officially taking over the Emergency Medical Services system from New Hanover County in July 1998. Since the program began, call volume has significantly increased from 17,444 annually to 41,485 encounters today. Throughout New Hanover County, 10 to 14 ambulances, two quick response vehicles and five community paramedics are deployed at any given time. The EMS team has grown to 130 employees from around 60 that started in 1998.
“Moving to New Hanover Regional Medical Center allowed the opportunity to expand and practice at the top of allowable levels,” said Battalion Chief Scott Goodyear.
The EMS program has expanded by hiring more highly trained paramedics and making substantial investments in vehicles and medical equipment. Programming goes well beyond transporting patients to the hospital. With the adaptation of the Community Paramedic program in 2014, care is offered to some patients after they are discharged from the hospital. Additionally, the EMS team developed a community outreach program that is dedicated to offering opportunities to learn about staying healthy and keeping safe. Some of the programs offered are hands-only CPR classes, public education events in churches, schools and civic organizations and by offering EMS coverage during special events, often by use of the Bicycle Emergency Response Team, modified utility vehicles and golf carts.
Over the 20 years, the NHRMC EMS team has received major awards and recognition for their work. The department received the Dick Ferneau Career Service of the Year Award, an honor presented annually to the top team in the U.S. by National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and EMS World Magazine. In 2002, NHRMC EMS was awarded the first Model System Recognition in North Carolina. NHRMC EMS also received the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) Accreditation. In 2015, the department was recognized as being one of the top 100 places to work as an EMT or paramedic by Goodcall DataCenter. In 2018, NHRMC EMS has received the AHA Mission Lifeline Gold Plus Award for outstanding STEMI care.