Emergency medical treatment in Davis County has grown in scope and sophistication in the last two decades to the point it needs an overall designated and paid medical director, the county's Emergency Medical Services Council has decided.
The EMS council Thursday appointed Dr. Dennis Wyman, Lakeview Hospital emergency room physician, as acting medical director and appointed a subcommittee to draw up a job description for a permanent medical director and recommend how the part-time job will be financed.Wyman has served on the EMS Council for 10 years, has drawn up many of the medical policies and protocols used by paramedics and emergency medical technicians in the county in addition to coordinating training seminars.
Wyman already acts as medical director to the Davis County Sheriff's office paramedic program.
All agencies that offer emergency medical services, and individuals trained as EMTs and paramedics, operate under state guidelines. Wyman said new state and federal policies will require the agencies to have a designated medical adviser.
Capt. K.D. Simpson, who supervises the sheriff's department paramedic program, said Wyman has been acting as the unofficial medical director for the various agencies in the county for years and last week's action makes his status official, if only temporary.
Wyman did not say if he would be willing to take on the task permanently but did say the medical services director's job would take a third to half of a physician's working time.
Each agency in Utah that offers emergency medical treatment receives two types of grant money from the state. One grant is on a per capita basis, with funds awarded to an agency on the basis of the population base it serves and the number of EMTs and paramedics on its staff.
Grant money is also awarded on a competitive basis, with agencies showing the greatest need for equipment or training being given additional funds. Those traditionally go to less sophisticated, more rural agencies that do not have a large tax base to draw on.
Simpson proposed that each agency in the county dedicate part of its annual per capita grant money to pay for the medical director.
But Bountiful Fire Chief Jerry Lemmon balked at that, saying he's not sure the EMS medical director will qualify as the medical adviser that his department and other fire departments will need in the future under federal regulations.
And, the chief said, grant money given up for a medical director's salary is money no longer available for training seminars and equipment for his department.
Simpson said the EMS council is designated by state law as the governing body for all agencies in the county that want to offer emergency medical services and the council has the authority to require that a portion of the grant money be used to pay a director.