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Mt. Rose Ski Patrol ALS Pilot Project

ski medicsMount Rose Ski Tahoe Resort has presented a challenge to EMS providers over the years. When severe weather, severe injury or illness and remote patient location are combined, definitive patient care can be significantly delayed and compromised. We all know that the Mt. Rose Ski Patrol is one of the best patrols in the industry and although the Rose professional ski patrol employs many paramedics, EMT-Basic care can only be provided according to laws and the insurance carriers. After researching the subject of ski patrol ALS care, we found that there were a few areas in the U.S. that provide advanced care. In those cases, a special paramedic district was formed or the county EMS agency actually assigned medics to the area as Vail does. Our Medical Director, Dr. Ryan, was open to a proposal that could improve patient care at the Resort using current resources. There were 10 paramedics that worked for various ALS agencies, but 7 were under Dr. Ryan’s direction at North Lake Tahoe Fire (Incline) and REMSA. Over the summer and fall of 2008, the proposal was presented to all the agencies that would be involved. The management and legal counsel of Mt. Rose, REMSA and North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District worked together as a team, with the goal of providing the best patient care in the Sierras. The plan allows NLTFPD and REMSA paramedics who are working as Pro Ski Patrollers at Mt. Rose, to provide ALS care when needed according to their respective protocols. The Medic would be required to notify the EMS dispatch agency that they were “on-scene” to be able to provide ALS as would be required if they were to roll up to say, an accident scene in their POV. After numerous meetings and discussions the plan was set and all we needed was snow to get the Mt. Rose ALS Pilot Program launched. All of the supplies and equipment came from REMSA stock and Phillips generously loaned us 2 MRX monitors for the season.

So far we have treated 25 ALS patients, the majority were provided pain management for trauma but we have also treated an ACS patient and various medical complaints. There have been a lot of assessments done by the Patrol EMT-Basics with the Medics being “consulted” but ALS care was deemed unnecessary. A key benefit of the ALS assessment has been a better utilization of Care Flight for appropriate patients. A survey of patrollers revealed that they felt working with paramedics on calls helped deepen their knowledge base and gave them reassurance that their patients were getting the best possible care immediately and also felt that they were a part of that process. In a nutshell, the Pilot program appears to be a success so far. As the ski season comes to a close, there will be a comprehensive review of the program to evaluate the effectiveness and make any changes that are needed. We hope that the Mt. Rose Patrol ALS Program will be continued for many seasons in the future. To quote our first ALS patient who had to be extricated from a pile of granite with a femur fracture, “I know I’m hurt pretty badly but I was really afraid that moving me would hurt me even worse…it wasn’t so bad actually” (might have had something to do with the nitrous/fentanyl). There are many people involved in the development and success of the program but here are a few names to mention…Mike Ferrari Patrol Director, Paul Senft General Manager Mt. Rose, Patrick Smith, Dr. Joe Ryan, Chief Mike Brown, Mike Williams, Jim Gubbels, Diane Rolfs, Evan Schwartz, Russell Barnum, Bruce Hicks, Nathan Johnson, Tim Egan, Mike Schwartz, Kevin Romero, Paulette Schneider, Asst. Patrol Director, REMSA “Ski Car” Crews and Dispatch Center Staff and the Entire Mt. Rose Ski Patrol.

If you have any questions regarding the ALS pilot or are interested in being a Ski Patrol Medic contact Charlie Tabano, Program Coordinator., or call at 775-741-0772.

Charlie Tabano

Mount Rose Ski Patrol Paramedics

Mount Rose Ski Patrol Paramedics

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