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For Immediate Release
August 20, 2019
Kate Flavin


Sedgwick County EMS to become Physician-led Organization

(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – After several months reviewing and evaluating the management model for Sedgwick County EMS (SCEMS), officials decided to move forward and merge SCEMS and the Office of the Medical Director. This action will create a physician-led Department of EMS and Medical Direction. 

The Medical Director will continue to provide on and off-line direction and oversight, credentialing, and support for all Emergency Medical Service System (EMSS) partners.

A proactive, physician-led model will more strategically utilize system resources, and over time may reduce unnecessary ambulance transports, reduce emergency department visits, and deliver better care that is more cost effective. The integration will reduce administrative redundancies, align quality assurance practices, expand training, enhance relationships with community healthcare systems, and improve internal communication.

It will maintain the high quality of operational 911 first response, crisis preparedness, community event coverage, and clinic care provided to patients.

“Before moving to hire a new EMS Director, we took this opportunity to consider alternative ways to manage emergency medical care and transport service delivery, improve efficiencies and ensure that our community receives the best, contemporary out-of-hospital care possible,” said Rusty Leeds, Assistant County Manager of Public Safety. “EMS systems require strong medical oversight to manage the increasingly complex needs of patients.”

Dr. John Gallagher, EMS System Medical Director, will transition into the role of EMS Director effective immediately. Gallagher is dual board certified in Emergency Medicine and EMS Medicine. As the Medical Director, he provides clinical oversight for nearly 1,000 EMS providers in Sedgwick County. He has worked with Wichita Fire Department to restructure responses leading to more units being available at any given time. Additionally, under his leadership and through collaboration with public safety partners, the Office of the Medical Director has been able to implement an integrated care team pilot program; this three person team (paramedic, qualified mental health professional, and law enforcement agent) responds to low acuity calls in the community that may have a mental health component. Gallagher also maintains clinical hours in a local emergency room which allows him to see the result of EMS care in the field and create relationships with local hospitals and other stakeholders.

“A physician-led EMS organization better aligns the medical director’s clinical focus with EMS operations,” said Phillip Brownlee, Executive Director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County. “The high quality EMS care that we have now will only improve with this integration.”

“Sedgwick County EMS is full of passionate EMS professionals,” said Dr. Gallagher. “I am proud to work with them on a daily basis to ensure that the needs of our community are met through medical best practices, operational efficiency, and compassion.”