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Deputy Director Update
Kimberly Torris

By Kimberly Torris

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide

This quote seems fitting as we, the EMS community, leap forward to embark on new adventures. Change can create uncertainty; however, it also leads to greatness. The Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems Program has undergone many changes in structure and staffing positions. We have lost some respected team players and gained some new players who are wonderful assets to our team. Throughout this newsletter, you will also read of the impressive activities, trainings and progress we as an EMS program are making with the help of many of you.

First, a little bit about me, Kimberly Torris. I am an Oregon-licensed paramedic. My educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in paramedicine and a master’s in health administration. I have been in EMS for 17 years and have worked in several states such as Washington, Colorado, Montana and Oregon. I have worked in many roles from EMT, paramedic, preceptor, field trainer and public information officer to ambulance operations supervisor.

Four years ago I joined the state EMS and Trauma Systems Program team as the prehospital systems manager responsible for the oversight of the EMS portion of the EMS and Trauma Systems program. I recently accepted the EMS deputy director position, with the responsibility of overseeing the operational procedures within the EMS program including licensure, inspections, training, EMS for children, advisory boards and committees, and professional standards for EMS providers, ambulances and EMS agencies. I am also responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining a data system, and maintaining five divisions of OARs in relation to the EMS and Trauma Systems Program.

We recently implemented a data user agreement with the National Emergency Medical Services Information Systems (NEMSIS) to start exporting our data into their database, allowing us to compare Oregon EMS data to national EMS data. Although we only provided approximately 9,000 patient run reports between Jan. 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012, we now have a start. Oregon currently uses Image Trend, which is available to any Oregon EMS agency with no user charge. Image Trend then submits Oregon data to NEMSIS on a quarterly basis. The data being exported to NEMSIS has no identifiers that can be linked back to specific patients, areas or agencies. Approximately 36 percent of all Oregon EMS agencies currently use or export data into Image Trend. The plan moving forward will be for more agencies to report their patient data either by using Image Trend as their prehospital patient care reporting software or by exporting their data into Image Trend using an xml script. We will also be looking at the data elements we are currently collecting to ensure the elements are all NEMSIS 2.2.1-compliant. Once we ensure we are collecting compliant data points, we will begin to look into validating the data we are collecting. By having this data we will then be able to pull reports benefiting many things such as how many calls are being run a year; what types of calls seem to be more prevalent in Oregon; how many calls are run per age group; our providers’ training needs; where Oregon EMS lies nationally; and needed improvements. The possibilities are endless. We are very excited to be heading in the right direction — collecting data to improve EMS for Oregonians. 

Oregon Administrative Rules Chapter 333 Division 250 regarding ambulance service licensing, Division 255 regarding ambulance licensing and Division 265 regarding emergency medical services providers have recently been opened for revisions. Access copies of those proposed revisions.

Public hearing for the proposed rules changes is set for Dec. 19, 2012, 1:00 p.m. at the Portland State Office Building in room 1D. Comments will be heard during this hearing and can also be sent in writing to the contact information found in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Hearing form found on our website with proposed rule changes. 

Regards,

Kimberly L. Torris LP, BS, MHA
EMS Deputy Director
Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems
Oregon Health Authority
kimberly.l.torris@state.or.us
(971) 673-0523

 

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