To reduce premature death and disability from sudden illness and injury among the visitors and citizens of Yakima County, by the development, coordination, and assurance of quality prehospital patient care and system operations; through training of EMS personnel, continuous quality improvement, EMS system development, public education and injury prevention, data collection and research, and system administration.
To move into the future utilizing modern tools & teaching technology to deliver the highest quality training & services in a cost effective manner. Yakima County will be recognized as a leader in providing EMS services.
Pictured l to r: Dr. Leonard Cobb, Candace Hamilton, Dr. Juan Acosta, Dr. Mickey Eisenberg
The EMS Operations Board is an advisory board that reports to the Yakima County Commissioners. This Board's sole purpose is to advise the commissioners on DEMS operations (budgeting; funding sources, including EMS levy and grant writing; strategic planning, including DEMS facilities and capital equipment; and ensuring quality EMS educational programs and delivery method) to ensure quality provision of EMS to the people of Yakima County. The Board consists of a representation of mayors, fire chiefs, fire commissioners, an ambulance representative, hospital representative and the Yakima County Medical Program Director.
By 1985, it had become apparent that the demand for emergency medical services in Yakima County was continuing to grow, and that the system lacked the necessary administrative control and coordination necessary to meet the needs of EMS providers and organizations. Much of this work was being done by volunteers, such as the two emergency physicians who fulfilled the role of Medical Program Director, and the members of the Yakima County EMS Advisory Council. It was clear that a full-time position within local government needed to be created in order to assume these responsibilities.
In October 1986, the Yakima County EMS Advisory Council (now the EMS & Trauma Care Council) published a report recommending the establishment of an EMS coordinator within the structure of county government. The report cited that the “…delivery of EMS in Yakima County is disorganized and lacks medical and administrative control and support. Without effective coordination, the result could be reductions of quality and levels of care.”
Following the Council’s report, the Board of County Commissioners established the Pre-Hospital Care Committee. This group was comprised of elected officials, physicians, fire chiefs, and hospital administrators. The committee published its report on the “Yakima County Emergency Medical Services System” in April, 1987. The report agreed with the Council’s recommendations to create an EMS office. In addition, it also recommended the development of a central dispatch center and 9-1-1 emergency number, as well as the adoption of more restrictive standards and the improvement of system management and control.
The Washington State DSHS, EMS Section (now the Department of Health, Office of EMS & Trauma Prevention) agreed with the recommendations and offered to provide a three-year grant to fund the salary of the proposed “EMS Coordinator.” In exchange, Yakima County would have to provide office space and additional funding for equipment and supplies.
In response to the reports from the two committees, the Yakima County Department of Emergency Medical Services (EMS Office) was established within county government by the Board of Yakima County Commissioners, and a Director hired in September, 1988. It is from these original reports that the EMS office established its mission statement.
The office was originally located in the basement of the County Courthouse in a small room within the Yakima Valley Office of Emergency Management. It was later moved to a slightly larger room next door. A part-time secretary was hired in 1989.
|In December, 1996 the office moved to a location in the Yakima Health District building. The office employed a full-time secretary, a Director, EMS Training Coordinator, BLS Trainer and several part-time staff. The full-time staff devoted the majority of their time toward the provision of training and continuing medical education of EMS Personnel in Yakima County.||
EMS Office Staff: Diane Koch, Candace Hamilton, Richard Porter, Dr. Juan Acosta
By July, 2000 the Board of County Commissioners had established an EMS Operations Board; comprised of Yakima Valley Mayor’s, Fire Commissioners, Fire Chief’s, hospital personnel, an ambulance representative and the Medical Program Director. The Board was asked to oversee the EMS office budget and assist with EMS system decisions by making recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners. The EMS Operations Board continues to meet quarterly.
Today the EMS office employ’s a full-time secretary, a Director, an EMS Training Coordinator and several part-time staff. The office is located inside on the second floor of the Glenwood Square Mall, located on Tieton Drive. The full-time staff devotes the majority of their time toward the development of curriculum, the provision of training both initial and ongoing continuing education, quality assurance and improvement and Medical Program Director support.
Learn more about how an EMS system works: