Employee of the First Quarter: Capt. Jonathan Nordstrom

j nordstrom employee of the quarter

Congratulations to the Employee of the First Quarter of 2016 – Capt Jon Nordstrom.   An extract from the nomination by members of staff speak volumes as the solid employee and leader that Jon is:

  Jon has been instrumental in helping with all departments and needs of the organization.  He is willing to help training, billing, operations, and any place in which a challenge needs a resolution.  He is always the consummate professional, willing to step up when needed and always brings new ideas and solutions to the forefront.  He tackles every assignment with a smile and a please and thank you.

Well done Capt Nordstrom – well deserved!

Employee of the Fourth Quarter: Ulanda Keyes

Ulanda pic

Ulanda started her career with the Richmond Ambulance Authority in July 2008 as a Charge Entry Analyst in the Reimbursement Department.  In February 2011, Ulanda became a Patient Account Analyst I.  She was recognized for consistently providing excellent customer service.  In February 2012, Ulanda was promoted to Patient Account Analyst III for “Exceeding Expectations” in her technical performance, knowledge, customer service, and problem solving skills.  In March of this year, Ulanda was promoted to the position of QA/QI Coordinator of Reimbursement where she is responsible for supporting internal compliance and the auditing program for the Reimbursement Department.  Ulanda is also a graduate of the 2015 Leadership Academy and continues to receive praise from her co-workers for going the extra mile to welcome and assist new staff in her department.  We are proud to have Ulanda as a part of the RAA team and wish her many more successes in the future.

Congratulations, Ulanda!

Richmond Ambulance Authority Wins Nation’s Most Prestigious EMS Award – Official Press Release

dick ferneau trophy

RICHMOND, Va., October 7, 2015 – The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) has won the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians’ (NAEMT) and EMS World’s 2015 Dick Ferneau Career EMS Agency of the Year award. This award goes to one EMS agency in the United States each year for its outstanding achievements and contributions in emergency healthcare.

“The Richmond Ambulance Authority has been at the forefront of prehospital innovation and delivery for many years,” said Nancy Perry, editorial director of EMS World.  “What is particularly notable about RAA is the agency’s willingness to share its research, findings and programs freely with the world of EMS to ensure we all benefit from its groundbreaking and thoughtful work. The Dick Ferneau award is an excellent way to nationally recognize and thank an organization that has such a global outreach and influence over the future of prehospital care.”

“To be named the Dick Ferneau Career EMS Agency of the Year is quite rewarding because we constantly strive to achieve excellence,” said Chip Decker, chief executive officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority. “This award isn’t just about the year or decade of work we have put into being as good as we can be; it also reflects our efforts to have a workforce that is happy, safe, engaged and clinically focused.”

RAA was selected because of its innovation and many programs that benefit patients and employees alike. On the patient-care front, RAA was one of the first EMS systems in the nation to use mechanical CPR to provide consistent and high-quality chest compressions. RAA also uses therapeutic hypothermia during cardiac arrest resuscitation which cools the body to preserve brain function. The cooling program, followed by appropriate post-resuscitation care, has resulted in nearly 12% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients being released neurologically intact, compared to the national rate of 8%.

“We are focused on innovation,” said Rob Lawrence, chief operating officer of RAA. “Whether it’s participating in clinical trials or cultivating a culture of safety in our agency, we constantly strive for excellence. Safety is first and foremost, whether it’s vehicle training to remain accident free or our beneficial relationship with our public safety partners. We see this culture as an innovation in and of itself, because we don’t have to reeducate staff to be able to obtain this culture. We all embrace this culture.”

RAA’s innovation also includes its vehicles which are equipped with solar panels to provide green power. This reduces overall engine idle time and fuel consumption, and thus cost, while making the fleet more environmentally friendly. RAA also recently implemented the FirstPass system. This new patient record software collects data from each call and allows RAA to track trends in clinical behavior, make adjustments and provide additional training to paramedics accordingly.

RAA’s focus on health also includes that of its employees. RAA provides a fitness program to educate staff about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. RAA Fit focuses on nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation and stress management. The program provides staff with recipe suggestions for healthy eating and has established a staff garden to grow fresh produce. RAA Fit also includes “Fruity Fridays” during which bowls of fresh fruit can be found around headquarters.

Community outreach is also an important part of RAA’s mission and culture. RAA partners with many organizations, including the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the Richmond Office of Multicultural Affairs to teach hands-only CPR classes. Given the increase in Richmond’s Hispanic population, RAA also has given a series of CPR classes in Spanish, using bilingual instructors from RAA and local hospitals. RAA has also partnered with the Richmond Office of Multicultural Affairs and CrossOver Healthcare Ministry to start a train the trainer CPR program.

For years, RAA has had a significant impact on EMS internationally, most recently with its partnership with the Panamerican Trauma Society.   Trauma surgeons from Central and South America come to Richmond to participate in this international observer program. They spend weeks at a time embedded with RAA to fully understand the role an EMS organization plays in the overall trauma system. Additionally, RAA serves as part of the United States Air Force (USAF) pararescueman training pipeline and provides clinical placements for these trainees at least once a year.

The Rider Alert motorcycle safety program, launched by RAA in 2011, has taken off on a worldwide basis. Rider Alert cards, which are placed inside helmets, have next of kin and contact information to aid attending EMS personnel or emergency department staff when a motorcyclist cannot communicate. Today, more than 1.2 million Rider Alert cards are in use and the program has spread to countries as far away as Sweden, Finland and Romania as well as the United Kingdom.

RAA also launched the Crossing Alert program after data showed the number of pedestrian-related incidents was increasing as a result of distractions, often related to the use of smart phones. To combat this, RAA created a YouTube video with a catchy beat and hip hop song about paying attention and being safe when crossing the street. The video quickly gained a following with nearly 9,000 views.

“We believe in paying it forward with our research,” said Lawrence. “If we learn or develop something, we don’t hold it close to our chest. We ensure our learning is passed along for the benefit of the entire industry, which ultimately helps many communities beyond our own.”

About the Richmond Ambulance Authority

In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the city manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City’s residents.  Today, the Richmond Ambulance Authority responds to approximately 200 calls per day and transports, on average, 140 patients per day.  RAA’s emergency response times are among the fastest in the nation with ambulances on the scene of life threatening emergencies in less than 8 minutes and 59 seconds in more than 90% of all responses.  RAA is one of only 22 EMS agencies in North America accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch.  RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.

RAA Receives the 2015 Dick Ferneau “Paid Service of the Year,” Award

national ems awardRICHMOND, VIRGINIA AUGUST 20, 2015 – The Richmond Ambulance Authority has been selected to receive the 2015 Dick Ferneau “Paid Service of the Year,” Award by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). This award recognizes an agency for overall operational excellence in EMS.

The Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year Award is sponsored by Ferno in honor of its co-founder, Dick Ferneau. Ferneau, who passed away in 2009, was a true pioneer of the EMS industry. From the time he was a teenager and until his death at the age of 90, Dick engineered many designs and concepts, many of which still impact the EMS industry today. He listened endlessly to the evolving needs of caregivers and first responders, and worked feverishly to develop innovations to help make their jobs safer, easier and more efficient. Dick was also a compassionate, servant leader who, alongside Ferno co-founder and chairman, El Bourgraf, made many local and global contributions as Ferno continued to expand its international footprint.

The Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year Award pays tribute to agencies that exemplify Dick’s spirit and dedication to continuous improvement, and reflect his character as a humble and compassionate friend and philanthropist. Agencies are evaluated in the following areas: EMS education and training, innovations in pre-hospital care and protocol, community involvement, EMS system/program upgrades, worker safety, injury and illness prevention, and public education projects.

Richmond Ambulance Authority is one of the busiest ambulance services in the United States per capita, and despite this the agency still finds ways to ensure it is providing patients with the most excellent care possible. RAA covers 62.5 square miles, housing a population of 204,149 residents with a daytime population up to 800,000 as Virginia’s capital city. In 2014, RAA responded to about 64,000 calls, and transported 42,000 people to the hospital. RAA’s average response time in 2014 was 5 minutes and 45 seconds. In addition, emergency-response times were 95% compliant with standards for life-threatening emergencies in 2012.

“To be identified as the Dick Ferneau Paid Service of the Year is not just rewarding for this year, we feel this is like a lifetime achievement award, because we constantly strive to achieve excellence,” says Chip Decker, chief executive officer of RAA. “To receive this isn’t just about the year or the decade of work we’ve put in to be as good as we can be, it’s also about showing our efforts to have a workforce that’s happy, safe, engaged and clinically focused.”

RAA is an innovative agency with many programs that benefit patients and employees alike, having ran a number of very successful public health and injury prevention programs such as the successful “Rider Alert” motorcycle safety program that places identity cards inside riders’ helmets. This program, now a global collaboration, has issued over 1 million cards to riders around the world. RAA is also part of the USAF Pararescueman training “pipeline” and delivers clinical placement training to trainee PJs. It also provides fellowship placements for Central and South American-based trauma surgeons as part of the Pan American Trauma Society, where an overview of the EMS role in a busy trauma system is explained and demonstrated over two-week attachments where the surgeon is totally immersed into prehospital clinical operations.

In terms of patient care, RAA treats patients using inventive methods that increase quality of care. RAA uses mechanical CPR to provide consistent and high-quality chest compressions. RAA also uses therapeutic hypothermia during resuscitation procedures, which cools the body to preserve brain function. The cooling program (followed by appropriate post-resuscitation care) has resulted in nearly 12% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients to be released neurologically intact, compared to an 8% rate nationally.

“We are constantly looking to innovate,” says RAA Chief Operating Officer Rob Lawrence, “whether it’s participating in things like the freshly thawed plasma trial or cultivating a culture of safety in our agency. Safety is first and foremost, whether it’s vehicle training to remain accident free or our beneficial relationship with the police department. We see this culture as an innovation in and of itself, because this way we don’t have to reeducate people to be able to obtain this culture. We embrace this culture.”

employee of the quarter

Employee of the Third Quarter: Angela Parker

Congratulations to Senior Accounting Specialist Angela Parker who is our Employee of the Quarter!

Angie started with RAA in November 2008 as our Bookkeeper/Accountant, and in 2014, became our Senior Accounting Specialist. For the past six years, Angie has done an excellent job processing and maintaining accurate records of accounting transactions; preparing reports and/or reconciliations for various accounting transactions or systems; works with Reimbursement to process and maintain Lifesaver membership applications and payments; assists in establishing and maintaining accounting control procedures; resolves accounting discrepancies. She is prompt in turning around purchase orders within 24 hours, has great working relationships with her peers, and assists in correcting other Department’s oversights and discrepancies.

Her colleagues have come to count on her attention to detail which helps to save RAA time and money. In short, Angie is a critical member of the Finance Department. This quarter, we honor her work ethic and commitment and to her position and are proud to have her as a part of the RAA team.