Emergency Medical Services and Hospital Care: A Partnership

As we celebrate EMS Week, let’s honor the frontline heroes who save lives every day by responding to emergencies in our communities. Paramedics and EMS professionals spend long hours and sleepless nights responding, supporting and caring for the needs of our communities. EMS is a crucial part of healthcare in our communities, ensuring individuals in our region get the care they need as quickly as possible.

Penn Highlands Healthcare has six emergency departments located across the region, which work closely with many EMS agencies to provide coordinated, life-saving care to individuals experiencing a medical emergency.

“In an emergency, time is everything. Before patients even reach the doors of the emergency department, they are already receiving the care they need from EMS professionals.” said William Hoff, MD, Penn Highlands Healthcare Trauma Director.

EMS is an especially important service for those living in rural areas, where there may not be as many nearby hospitals as there are in urban and suburban areas. This makes the care and treatment provided by paramedics that much more important.

In many rural areas, EMS professionals are volunteers. These dedicated individuals sacrifice much in order to care for our communities. Volunteer EMS is the pinnacle of neighbors helping neighbors. We thank them for going above and beyond every day to protect and safeguard the health and safety of our communities.

Penn Highlands DuBois is in the process of building a Level II Trauma Center for patients in our region. Being in a rural area, a Level II Trauma Center will mean patients no longer have to be transferred out of our region for trauma care, which can create hardships, travel issues, and emotional strains on family members.

“Penn Highlands is continuing to work on our Level II trauma designation. Once we receive it, the relationships and partnerships with EMS will be vital to get trauma patients to the hospital safely and quickly,” said William Hoff.

The new emergency department at Penn Highlands DuBois will increase the number of bays from 19 to 28, including four bays designed specifically to support the care of trauma patients. There will also be an eight-bay area used to fast-track patients who have ailments that can be treated quickly and released, many within an hour. A decontamination area with deluge showers and lockdown security is also part of the expansion project. An additional helipad is being added to accommodate increased trauma volume, as well.

During a pandemic, the partnership between hospitals and EMS is even more critical. In April 2021, to help with the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), AHN/Highmark and Penn Highlands reached out to EMS services throughout Elk, Jefferson and Clearfield counties and provided 8,600 face shields, 34,300 gowns, 48,960 KN95 masks and 102,000 surgical masks to EMS professionals in our communities. Coming together to support our local EMS not only supports their efforts but ensures we are working together to meet the medical needs of our patients during these unprecedented pandemic times.

For more information on emergency services at Penn Highlands Healthcare, visit www.phhealthcare.org/ED.