Ballad, Sullivan EMS partnership equals new heart monitors for county ambulances

J. H. Osborne • Jun 23, 2019 at 12:21 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan County Commission has approved and accepted a partnership with Ballad Health which will provide 30 cardiac monitors, valued at up to $1.2 million, to Sullivan County Emergency Medical Services.

EMS Chief Jim Perry said he’d like to put cardiac monitors in quote marks because the new equipment is so advanced compared to what is now in use.

“This is technology well beyond anything we’ve ever seen in the pre-hospital setting, anywhere in the nation. Nobody has this equipment yet and the total package, other than the special forces of the U.S. military,” Perry said. “It’s really a game-changer for patient care in the pre-hospital setting.”

Perry said the monitors save heart muscle and save lives.

“This equipment goes well above and beyond what we can do now,” Perry said.

The “feature-rich” cardiac monitors provide “a valuable two-way, real-time collection of all vitals data, events, interventions, medications and important pictures for communication between EMS and hospital team members.”

Eric Deaton is the senior vice president of market operations for Ballad Health.

Deaton said Ballad sees the partnership as an opportunity to improve the health of the entire region and called Sullivan County EMS a “first class organization.”

The monitoring devices are groundbreaking not only functionally, but in weighing only 6 pounds, Deaton said, and a review by the Federal Drug Administration is expected to be completed within the next 90 days.

“We’re very proud to be a part of this,” Deaton said. “We’re excited to get it going and to partner on other things in the future.”

“I think this is an example of the things we can do if we work together to save the taxpayers money,” Commissioner Hershel Glover said. “And that’s what we’ve done. But the most important thing is that it will save lives. But we kept the tax rate down, too. That’s something very important to all of us.”

Glover was the primary sponsor of the resolution supporting the partnership with Ballad. Co-sponsors were Commissioner Joyce Crosswhite and Commissioner Dwight King.

Glover said a couple of months ago EMS Director Gary Mayes came to the Sullivan County Commission’s Administrative Committee and said the EMS’s current cardiac monitors were out of date and did not correspond with equipment used by the hospitals.

“Most of all, I want to thank Ballad Health for stepping up and providing these monitors to Sullivan County,” Glover said. “It saved Sullivan County $1.2 million and probably a four-cent tax increase. That’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is the lives they’re going to save.”

King also thanked Ballad officials.

“We were presented a big problem that affects every citizen in Sullivan County and how we were going to fund this,” King said. “We took a want and a need and Ballad Health stepped up. Nobody else in the country hardly has this. So we are at the cutting edge of technology.”

After thanking Ballad Health, Crosswhite said she has been so excited about the announcement she hadn’t been able to sleep.




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