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Hospital Launches Paramedic Program

Elizabethtown, N.Y. (September 6, 2018) – The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital today announced the launch of the region’s first New York State Department of Health accredited Paramedic Program in an effort to address the community’s growing shortage of paramedics. The first classroom session will be held on Friday, September 7.

The Elizabethtown Community Hospital Paramedic Program offers advanced emergency medical training through academic, clinical and field experiences.  The program is a collaboration between Elizabethtown Community Hospital, Mountain Lakes Regional EMS Council, Essex County Emergency Services and North Country Community College.

“Paramedics are critical to providing pre-hospital emergency health care services, especially in rural communities where the closest hospital may be an hour away,” said Bruce Barry, Elizabethtown Community Hospital Paramedic Program Director. “The North Country, like much of the nation, is facing a mounting shortage of paramedics, so to stem that shortage we’ve created a program to ‘grow our own’ to ensure our communities have access to safe, high-quality life-saving care.”

Currently, there are only 113 certified paramedics serving a five-county region that covers more than 300,000 year-round residents spread out over approximately 6,500 square miles. 

The new program will train up to 25 students each year. The inaugural class includes 22 emergency medical technicians (EMTs) from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties. EMT certification is a prerequisite for the program.

The unique blended learning program includes online learning as well as a weekly classroom session with lectures, quizzes, simulations and skills stations. The classroom sessions will be held simultaneously at three locations: Essex County Emergency Services (Lewis), North Country Community College (Malone) and Mountain Lakes EMS (Queensbury).  The students will also have access to 12 health care organizations and 30 EMS agencies across Northern New York and Vermont to fulfill their hands-on clinical training requirements.

“For the past two years, we’ve worked with our partners to develop a top-notch program that’s also easily accessible to students throughout the North Country,” said Barry. “Many of our students are full-time EMTs or volunteer EMTs with full-time jobs. We created our connected-classroom model to provide the convenience of distance learning with the bonus of having a skilled instructor on site.  Students will also be able to obtain their clinical training right in their own communities.”

Upon completing the 15-month, 900-hour program, the first class of students will receive Advanced Life Support (ALS) Certification and will be prepared to sit for the New York State Paramedic Certification exam in December 2019. In addition, students who successfully complete the Paramedic Program are eligible to receive academic credit up to 30 credits through the cooperative agreement with North Country Community College.

Paramedic certification is the highest level of pre-hospital care certification. While EMTs and paramedics are both highly-trained health care professionals who respond to medical emergencies in the pre-hospital setting, paramedics build on their EMT training to develop more advanced skills such as administering medications, starting intravenous (IV) lines, providing advanced airway management and learning to resuscitate and support patients with life-threatening problems such as heart attacks and traumatic injuries.

The Elizabethtown Community Hospital Paramedic Program intends to seek national accreditation through the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions.  This accreditation will allow the students to seek certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), a national EMS certification organization.  NREMT is recognized in every state in the United States, and 46 states use NREMT certification as a basis for licensure. By becoming an accredited program, students who complete the Paramedic Education Program may obtain National EMS Certification allowing them to maintain licenses and certifications in multiple states. The Program is applying to receive certification for their 2018-2019 class.

Tuition and fees for the program are approximately $5000 and financial assistance is available.  Applications for the next session will be available in April 2019. To learn more about the program, please call (518) 873-3022.