America Ambulance upgrading with critical care transport

By: Rachel A. Curry

Plans have been in motion. America Ambulance will be offering critical care transport. Paramedics completed critical care certification at the end of May. Currently America Ambulance is working on completing the protocols for the critical care transport with Passavant Area Hospital and Memorial Health System. Susan Zappa, president of America Ambulance, said the hospital’s had a need for critical care transport. The level of care patients receive on the ground for critical care transport is equivalent to helicopters transporting patients by air. America Ambulance is the only agency that has critical care certification in central Illinois.

With eight critical care paramedics at America Ambulance available to go out on calls to transport critical care patients to and from hospitals, members of the hospital staff, such as emergency room nurses and respiratory therapists, will not have to accompany patients on ambulances. Critical care certification gives paramedics the training to allow hospital staff to stay in the hospital where they are needed, which is a priority in rural areas. The America Ambulance critical care paramedics took three weeks of classes and a final exam to become certified at the Memorial Medical Center. Classes lasted between eight to ten hours a day.

“We keep our paramedics very well educated,” Zappa said. “The critical care certification is going to be good for the community all over.”

Hospitals place a call to America Ambulance when in need of transporting a patient. Their three locations, two in Springfield and one in Jacksonville, allow the agency to better serve central Illinois. The employees of America Ambulance travel between Springfield and Jacksonville to go where they are most needed. Patients have been transported all the way to Chicago and St. Louis to being moved from closer locations such as Quincy, Carlinville and Litchfield. America Ambulance has ten ambulances. Heavy pumps and different types of ventilators were purchased for the ambulances to meet the criteria needed for critical care certification. Peoria is the next closest location that offers critical care transport.

In 2008, Zappa became president of America Ambulance, which has been located in Springfield for 47 years. Since becoming president, the second Springfield America Ambulance location and first Jacksonville location opened doors for business in 2011. Currently Zappa plans on adding more employees to America Ambulance.

Originally from Cincinnati and a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama, Zappa’s background readily prepared her for being president of America Ambulance. She worked as a nurse for Memorial Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital. While working for the State of Illinois she audited ambulance providers. Also she worked in workman’s comp for Exxon Mobil. “I understand really well the business side of things,” Zappa said.

The public can contact America Ambulance if in need of an ambulance at (217) 245-4455.

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