Partnership Between Mission Health and Macon County Leadership Results in New Ambulance and Enhanced EMS Services for Macon County Residents

Asheville, NC (November 2, 2017) – A successful collaboration between Mission Health and Macon County leadership, with extraordinary support from the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation, the Mission Health Department of Philanthropy and generous community donors, has resulted in the fully-funded purchase of a much-needed, brand new ambulance for emergency patient transport in Macon County.

“When I learned about the need to improve medical transport for Highlands and all of Macon County, I was pleased to make a significant contribution to this important cause,” said community donor Mark T. Mahaffey.  “My intent was to expedite the project by making a challenge gift to complete the funding by year-end 2016.  It was exciting to see so many good folks in Highlands come forward to meet the goal.”

A key factor in acquiring this new ambulance has been the proactive partnership between Mission Health System Regional Transport Services and Macon County EMS.  Their collaborative work and detailed analysis of peak utilization and emergency transport response times for transfers in Macon County drove this decision.  That analysis demonstrated a 29% increase in out-of-county patient transfers from Highlands-Cashiers and a 46% increase from Macon County.  When an ambulance must transport a patient out of the County, local coverage suffers.  This new Quick Response Vehicle will strengthen 911 coverage in the area by offering greatly increased availability for residents.

As part of this ongoing partnership, both Mission Health Regional Transport Services and Macon County EMS have added new resources to address and improve coverage in the county. Mission Health and Macon County have worked closely to ensure that Mission Health System Regional Transport Services are available to serve the community five days per week, 24 hours a day double the previous coverage of five days a week for 12 hours per day.  Macon County EMS has provided modified staffing that includes the addition of 3 new positions, an important increase in resources to provide necessary back-up staffing.  This expanded coverage is significant for those who deliver or receive emergency care.

Response time, state-of-the-art technology and expert EMS caregivers are the most valuable elements when it comes to providing critical, rapid response treatment to patients experiencing a health emergency or are involved in a serious accident.  Macon County Director of Emergency Services Warren Cabe emphasized that this new vehicle and its state-of-the-art features will even more effectively serve community members. “The time saving element alone that we’ll see from the addition of this new emergency vehicle combined with related staffing changes will translate into significantly more accessible and enhanced care for patients in the Macon County area,” he stated. “To be direct, the service we are able to provide to our customers will be greatly improved.”

The new, state-of-the-art vehicle is outfitted with truly advanced features that essentially make it an “Intensive Care Unit on wheels”, including a Zoll X series monitor defibrillator, a Newport HT 70 Ventilator, a Stryker Powered stretcher and Stair Chair, and specialized Pediatric Resuscitation System, as well as a highly sophisticated Kenwood 2-way radio system.  Importantly, this new vehicle is ideally equipped to meet the MAMA landing site for patient air transport to the hospital.

Kathy Guyette, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services and President, Regional Member Hospitals, Mission Health, sees the addition of the new ambulance as not only a benefit to Macon County residents, but a valuable resource for the entire region. “This new emergency vehicle will immediately and measurably improve the level of care we can offer patients, and those who must be transferred to Mission Hospital will continue to receive the best pre-hospital arrival treatment available,” she said. “This will help hospital staff in Asheville as well, and serve to further unify our services region-wide.”

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Mission Health, based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state’s sixth-largest health system. For the fifth time in the past six years, Mission Health has been named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics, an IBM Company and part of IBM Watson Health in 2017. We are the only health system in North Carolina to achieve this recognition. Mission Health operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, post-acute care provider CarePartners, long-term acute care provider Asheville Specialty Hospital, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. With approximately 12,000 team members and 2,000 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visit or @MissionHealthNC.

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