Like many of my medical colleagues, I was pleased to read a report prepared by the Blue Ribbon Panel, citizens assembled through the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce to provide recommendations for a more streamline process of administration surrounding the delivery of pre-hospital emergency care in Collier County (PEMTT Agency).
As the president of the county’s 53-year-old medical society, I am equally pleased that the panel recognized our county’s impressive emergency medical service history and our notable low response times, which were achieved by fellow society member, the EMS team and medical director, Dr. Robert Tober, over the last 30 years.
National studies rank Collier County as the generally healthiest county in Florida. And, we have the best cardiology services in Florida.
Moreover, Collier residents have the highest life expectancy in Florida and the fourth highest life expectancy in the United States.
And, we want to maintain and improve that performance for Collier County.
As a practicing cardiologist, I can attest to the quality of our first response emergency medical professionals as their training and use of Tober’s Code-Save-A-Heart program has saved many Collier County patients’ lives. There are many testimonials to this program from many of our citizens.
The panel’s recommendation to move our pre-hospital emergency medical treatment and transport system (PEMTT) to one regionalized management structure that is overseen by a Public Safety Authority will indeed standardize protocols and reduce administrative costs. Especially important is establishing a PEMTT council to report to the designated Public Safety Authority. Under the guidance of the designated Public Safety Authority, the medical director, in collaboration with the directors of the emergency departments of NCH Healthcare System, Lee Memorial Trauma Center and PRHS, would promulgate all PEMTT personnel training, quality initiatives, credentialing and testing.
I also believe county resources can be reallocated better and therefore support the panel’s recommendation to explore consolidation of PEMTT personnel within the fire and EMS departments.
Regardless of proposed restructuring, I believe a refreshed PEMTT model as suggested by the panel will alleviate current turf issues and refocus attention on what matters most: "getting the highest level of training and expertise to the scene first in order to begin treatment that will quickly prepare the patient for transport" and ultimately save lives.
We have one of the best emergency medical service within the United States and we want to make it even better.
In closing, I would like to thank the panel for its hard work and diligence in formulating a plan that lends to simplify first responder medicine in Collier County. This service commands a great amount of medical training, and I am relieved the panel recommended we continue to rely on Dr. Tober’s vision for continuing to direct and use the training curriculum he developed.