TULSA, Okla. -- Oklahoma’s Emergency Medical Services Authority achieved accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services this month for its high-quality of patient care. EMSA is one of only 159 ambulance services in the nation, and the second in Oklahoma, to be accredited with the national commission.
The achievement ranks EMSA among the top one percent of ambulance services across the country, based on 15,276 ambulance services in the U.S., according to the American Ambulance Service.
“For our patients, and their loved ones, family and friends, this is validation that they are getting the best possible emergency health care in the most efficient and affordable way,” said Stephen Williamson, chief executive officer, EMSA.
“It is relatively uncommon for an emergency services provider to be accredited with the distinction of a perfect score, especially for the first application. The fact that there were no deficient or non-compliant issues shows the depth of experience, commitment and strength of EMSA’s people and its system.”
The primary focus of the commission’s standards is high-quality patient care, but also includes the ambulance service’s total operation and its relationships with other agencies, the general public and the medical community. The more than 100 standards cover agency management, financial management, budgeting and strategic planning, mutual aid and disaster coordination, credentialing and training, clinical standards, safety and community education, among others.
“The review process is very thorough and stringent. Complete compliance means that you have achieved the highest standard of excellence across your total system,” continued Williamson.
The review process, which an ambulance service voluntarily completes every three years, includes a comprehensive application and on-site review by national experts in emergency medical services.
EMSA has also been recognized nationally and internationally in recent years by a USA Today emergency medical services study that found EMSA’s cardiac survival rates to be among the highest in the country, in addition to being featured in multiple emergency medicine publications and journals.
EMSA and its contractors employ nearly 600 people, including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, system status controllers and dispatchers. The Medical Control Board, a group of Oklahoma emergency physicians, provides independent medical oversight for EMSA, develops treatment protocols and conducts quality improvement activities.
EMSA has provided advanced life support ambulance service in Oklahoma since 1978. The authority was established as a public utility model and independent trust authority of the City of Tulsa. It expanded in 1990 to become a trust authority of the City of Oklahoma City. Today, EMSA serves more than 1.1 million residents in Central and Northeast Oklahoma. Service areas include Tulsa, Sand Springs, Bixby, Jenks, Oklahoma City, Edmond, Bethany, Mustang, Nichols Hills, Piedmont, The Village, Warr Acres, Yukon, Lake Aluma, Arcadia and Valley Brook.
The Cherokee Nation emergency medical services department, with its headquarters in Tahlequah, is the other CAAS accredited organization in Oklahoma.