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Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine expand EMS education in Lancaster

Penn State Health, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, is expanding its emergency medical services (EMS) education programs by adding an emergency physician in fellowship training to field calls in Lancaster County. Its academic affiliation has allowed Penn State Health to create a unique EMS fellowship program at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where physicians-in-training divide their time between working in the Emergency Department and in the field with Penn State Health Life Lion EMS crews.

Physicians in the EMS fellowship program at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center have worked with field crews in Berks, Dauphin and Lebanon counties for 13 years, and will expand the program to Lancaster County beginning on Thursday, Dec. 1. For select calls, a physician will work alongside Life Lion’s first responders to provide prehospital emergency care, as well as coaching and education. The collaboration enhances EMS education and strengthens the relationship between pre-hospital teams and emergency department providers.

“Expanding this innovative program is a reflection of our commitment to provide high-quality care to the community we serve, from the moment of an emergency call through a patient’s journey back to good health,” said Dr. Michael Reihart, director of emergency services at Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center.

“The goal of our EMS fellowship is to give the next generation of emergency medicine physicians as many educational opportunities as we can and to help make emergency care as seamless as possible,” said Dr. Francis Mencl, chief of the Division of Life Lion Emergency Medical Services at Hershey Medical Center and program director of the EMS fellowship. “Most emergency physicians in training do not have the opportunity to give prehospital care in the field, so we are working to enhance that educational access and in turn allow these doctors to bring field expertise back to the inpatient setting, and ensure a continuum of care.”

In addition to support in the field, the emergency physician in fellowship training will participate in educational sessions with Penn State Health Life Lion’s in-house emergency medical technician (EMT) training course. Life Lion launched an in-house program to recruit, train and hire new EMTs in late 2021. The four-month program takes place at Penn State Health’s EMS facility in Mount Joy, Lancaster County. Upon completion of the program, EMTs are employed with Life Lion.

“Our EMS clinicians in the field have been appreciative of this way of coaching and growing their skills to provide for their patients,” said Keith McMinn, director of Penn State Health Life Lion Services in Hershey. “This type of collaboration, support and leadership is invaluable in an environment where a timely response is critical.”

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