Ambulance fleet to get upgrade thanks to a grant

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - A good chunk of the ambulance fleet in the Mohawk Valley is getting an upgrade, thanks to a grant from Excelleus Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

Local health care officials say the $120,000 grant will help save lives. The funds will be used to upgrade 37 ambulances in a three-county area with new modems.

The modems are used to transmit heart-related data directly to the emergency department at St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare, where a team of professionals will determine what type of heart issue the patient is having and which hospital is best for that patient to be transported to, as well as what team of physicians to have waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

About half of the ambulances in the Herkimer, Madison and Oneida counties area are already equipped with this type of modem, but with this grant from Excelleus Blue Cross-Blue Shield, so will the other half.

"Historically, what we've had to do is print one of these out, do this on a patient, reach for our cell phone. Meanwhile, I'm back in the ambulance by myself with a very sick patient," said Vinny Faraone, EMS clinical coordinator.

Faraone says he'd take a picture and text it to doctors, then wait for a response. With the new technology, it won't be necessary anymore, as the information will go straight to the hospital.

The announcement was made at St. Elizabeth Medical Center on Thursday, where officials with the newly formed Mohawk Valley Health System were appreciative of the grant.

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