Ballad set to downgrade Holston Valley Medical Center trauma services this fall

WE HAVE NEW INFORMATION TONIGHT ON WHEN AND HOW BALLAD HEALTH WILL WILL REALIGN LEVEL ONE TRAUMA SERVICES AT TWO TRI-CITIES HOSPITALS. GOOD EVENING, I’M SARA DIAMOND. AND I’M JOSH SMITH. LAST YEAR — BALLAD ANNOUNCED PLANS TO CENTRALIZE LEVEL ONE TRAUMA SERVICES AT JOHNSON CITY MEDICAL CENTER… AND RE-ALIGN SERVICES AT KINGSPORT’S HOLSTON VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER AND BRISTOL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER. NEWS CHANNEL 11’S JACKIE DEFUSCO SPOKE WITH BALLAD OFFICIALS…. AND LOCAL E-M-S PROVIDERS ABOUT WHEN THESE CHANGES WILL HAPPEN AND HOW THE TRANSITION IS GOING SO FAR. “JOSH, SARA, TODAY I LEARNED THAT BALLAD HEALTH WILL DOWNGRADE SERVICES IN TWO PHASES. HOLSTON VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER WILL BECOME A LEVEL THREE TRAUMA CENTER IN OCTOBER 2019. BRISTOL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER ON THE OTHER HAND WILL NOT TRANSITION UNTIL 2021.” BALLAD HEALTH IS MOVING FORWARD WITH THEIR PLAN TO REALIGN THE REGION’S TRAUMA SERVICES. CHANGES–THEY SAY–WILL NOT IMPACT THE PACE OF PATIENT CARE. “THE IDEA IS TO MAKE SURE WE’RE MOST APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF CARE THAT THEY CAN ON A DAILY BASIS.” BALLAD SAYS A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF CASES–WHAT THEY CALL MAJOR TRAUMAS–WILL NEED TO GO TO JOHNSON CITY MEDICAL CENTER AFTER THESE CHANGES ARE IMPLEMENTED. “IF IT’S TAKING YOU NORMALLY FIVE MINUTES TO DRIVE TO THE HOSPITAL NOW IT TAKES YOU 25 MINUTES, OBVIOUSLY THERE COULD BE SOME DELAYS IN WITH THAT.” BALLAD SAYS THEY’VE BEEN COLLABORATING CLOSELY WITH E- M-S PROVIDERS TO MITIGATE THOSE DELAYS. “BALLAD HAS KEPT US INFORMED FROM THE BEGINNING ON THIS THERE HAS NOT BEEN A LACK OF COMMUNICATIONS WITH EMS.” ONE VOLUNTEER E-M-S PROVIDER SAYS BALLAD LEADERS DECLINED TO MEET WITH HIM AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. “BALLAD HEALTH HAS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE AND COMMUNICATE AND WORK WITH THE COMMUNITY AND THEY HAVE REPEATEDLY DECLINED AND BRUSHED US OFF.” BALLAD SAYS THEY RECENTLY HIRED AN E-M-S LIASON TO REACH OUT TO LOCAL PROVIDERS. THEY’RE ALSO OPEN TO HELPING AGENCIES EXPAND THEIR TRANSPORT RESOURCES AHEAD OF IMPLEMENTATION–A CONCERN AMONG CRITICS. “NO ONE HAS APPROACHED US ABOUT NEEDING ADDITIONAL VEHICLES WE’RE VERY OPEN TO ANY CONVERSATION THAT EMS WANTS ABOUT HELPING US SUPPORT THEM.” BALLAD SAYS THEY’VE ALREADY PUT IN PLACE A CENTRALIZED CALL CENTER THAT’S MAKING FIELD TO FACILITY COMMUNICATION MORE EFFICIENT. “IT’S A BIG IMPROVEMENT BECAUSE THE FOLKS IN THAT COMMUNICATIONS CENTER ARE DEDICATED TO ANSWERING THE RADIOS FOR EMS AT ALL TIMES.” THEY’RE ALSO PLANNING TO IMPLEMENT UPGRADES TO JOHNSON CITY MEDICAL CENTER’S EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT BY SPRING 2020 TO PREPARE FOR A POTENTIAL INFLUX OF PATIENTS. “WE’RE ADDING ANOTHER HELLIPAD TO MAKE SURE ANY ADDITIONAL AIR TRAFFIC THAT WE MAY HAVE COMING IN THERE IS APPROPRIATE.” “BALLAD HEALTH SAYS THEY’LL CONTINUE TO WORK CLOSELY WITH EMS PROVIDERS ACROSS THE REGION IN THE COMING MONTHS TO ENSURE THIS TRANSITION GOES SMOOTHLY. IN SULLIVAN COUNTY, JACKIE DEFUSCO, NEWS CHANNEL 11.” ACCESS TO FREE MEDICAL CARE SERVICES WILL UNDERGO CHANGES IN WISE COUNTY, VIRGINIA NEXT YEAR.

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