Medical consultant helps to improve patient care
By Dawn De Busk
NAPLES – A medical consultant that has been hired by three neighboring fire and rescue departments has been helpful in bringing about improvements in patient care by first responders.
“We have a medical director and we started doing quarterly reviews” according to Deputy Chief Mark Scribner.
Members of the Naples Fire and Rescue Department (NFRD) along with the Sebago Fire and Rescue Department and the Casco Fire and Rescue Department have been meeting with the medical director on a quarterly basis, Scribner said.
In February, the third quarterly meeting was held with public safety personnel from the three towns and the medical director.
“He sits down and picks calls he wants to go over. He does a little bit of in-service,” Scribner said.
“We are getting a better response from the crew. They seem to like the feedback from the doctor,” he said.
“We are certainly seeing a difference in the run sheets and the documents – that is where we are seeing the improvements,” he said.
Chief Scribner summarized what has been going on at NFRD during a recent Naples Board of Selectmen meeting.
“We changed how do billing,” he said. “Instead of doing separate bills for individual items, we do a lump sum bill,” based on costs comparable to other parts of Maine.
“Our billing is up and our payments are up from the previous year,” he said. “We have seen an improvement in our returns according to our accountant.”
Scribner had provided selectmen with copies of the call volume report for the year.
“Our numbers are about the same as last year: about 760 (calls to dispatch),” he said. “Five hundred are EMS calls, the rest are fire calls.”
Then, Scribner discussed response times for the department.
“Our average time out the door is 2½ minutes,” he said. “Two and a half minutes sounds like a lot of time. A lot of times, our truck is out on the road and waiting for the call to be dispatched.”
“A lot of times those response times are a lot quicker,” Scribner said. “You will hear the sirens as the radio is giving dispatch.”
“The only thing to note is: we are doing the majority of our transports to Bridgton Medical Center,” he said, adding that there has been a slight increase in ambulance transports to Central Maine Medical Center.
“There were 38 transports” to CMMC but most of the patients were taken to Bridgton.
“If it is a trauma call or cardiac arrest, we prefer go to Maine Med,” he said.
The department has been getting feedback from people served by local public safety personnel.
“Usually, every month, we have a gentleman who calls people that called rescue or fire,” he said.
The person calls everyone on the list. Typically, he contacts about 50 percent of those people.
“Most of the feedback has been really positive. We don’t get any negative responses,” he said.
“There have been minor complaints about the ride and patient care. We have taken care of those internally,” he said.
The department also heard many good comments about treatment by fire and rescue volunteers, he said.
The department continues to offer first aid certification courses and babysitting classes throughout the year.
“Typically, each class is full,” he said.
“We just held a pediatric emergencies class here for several towns,” Scribner said.
“I got two members started on advanced Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Training. This is a six-month program. Out of that, I will get more qualified EMTs to run calls with.”
Scribner reported that the new Recue Unit No. 7 would need to have its striping repainted. That is covered in the warranty.
For that reason, the town would retain the oldest ambulance, a 1997 model, to put back on the road while Rescue No. 7 is in the paint shop, probably sometime this summer.
After that, the town will most likely sell the ’97.
“As it currently stands, we own three ambulances. We have two in service,” Scribner said.
Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak complimented the department on a job well done during recent dispatch calls.
“I know they’ve had a couple tough calls, some overdoses,” he said.
In early January, the department responded to a fire at an unoccupied residence. They rescued the family pet and squelched the fire.
“A lot of times, you don’t hear about a fire unless it is fully engaged fire or a pet dies,” Paraschak said. “The firefighters were able to save a dog.”