This letter was submitted by Central Carolina CEO Spencer Thomas, CCH Board Chair Tom Snell, and CCH Chief of Staff Dr. Vincent Hoellerich.
The Lee County Board of Commissioners is exploring a dramatic change to our county’s emergency management services, and we need Lee County residents’ support to stop a move that may harm EMS and health care across our community.
For the first time in a quarter-century, Lee County leaders have opened bidding for the county EMS contract. After receiving two nearly identical bids from Central Carolina and FirstHealth — which does not run a hospital in Lee County — the county’s task force is recommending severing EMS ties with Central Carolina and going with FirstHealth.
Central Carolina Hospital has managed the EMS services for Lee County since 1997, and in that time, call volume has more than doubled, while response times remain in line or below the national average. Furthermore, Central Carolina EMS continues to achieve strong performance measures and outcomes, surpassing state and national averages. When comparing Utstein survival rates, which measure the percentage of patients that survive a sudden cardiac arrest outside of the hospital setting, CCH is at 40 percent, while state and national averages are at 29.4 percent and 29.2 percent, respectively.
Lastly, during this current contract term, Duke LifePoint Healthcare has invested over half a million dollars in new cardiac monitors, ambulances, a wheelchair van and $5,000 sign-on bonuses for paramedics.
By turning its back on its local hospital and its only 24/7 emergency department, Lee County will diminish our ability to provide seamless, quality care to its citizens and unseat more than 30 local EMS staff who our community has counted on during health emergencies for more than two decades.
With Central Carolina running EMS services, the people of Lee County could rest assured that they would continue to receive quality care from the ambulance to the emergency room and beyond. Mishandling these essential services will have grave consequences, including breaking the care chain in its most critical moments.
If you find this situation as disappointing as we do, please make your voice heard.
To enact this change, Lee County will present the proposition at two public hearings — one on Aug. 2 and one on Aug. 16. Prior to those meetings, I encourage you to call or email your county commissioner imploring him or her to maintain Lee County’s relationship with its local hospital.
CEO, Central Carolina Hospital
Board Chair, Central Carolina Hospital
Dr. Vincent Hoellerich
Chief of Staff, Central Carolina Hospital