A Brief History of the Jefferson County Ambulance Service
Due to the many limitations facing rural counties and communities, the federal government made possible the creation of rural EMS services through revenue sharing. Recognizing the need for a county-wide ambulance service, Jefferson County took advantage of the revenue sharing and JCAS was established in 1973. The service began, like most rural EMS in Kansas, as a basic life support (BLS) agency comprised of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) on a paid and volunteer basis. Those dedicated employees gave of both their time and efforts to provide the best service possible to the residents of Jefferson County with little or no compensation.
With the advent of the EMT-Intermediate and EMT-I/Defibrillator certifications, JCAS employees were able to provide an even higher level of care than was previously possible, including the use of intravenous (IV) therapy and cardiac defibrillator care. These additional certifications allowed for JCAS level of care to be raised from BLS to Advanced Life Support (ALS). Even then, however, much of the work was done for little or no compensation to the providers, including the expenses in the acquisition of advanced certifications.
Funding for EMS Operations
As times change, the expenses of providing EMS begin to exceed the resources available. Additionally, the government informed Jefferson County that the revenue sharing and government subsidy would be no longer available by the end of 1989. Seeing this need, the County Commissioners discussed the creation of a taxing district to provide the necessary funding to operate EMS in Jefferson County. On July 28, 1989, Resolution 6, which established an ambulance taxing district for the purpose of financially securing the future of EMS in Jefferson County, was unanimously passed. In doing so, JCAS advanced into the world of professional rural EMS, providing paid EMS staff supported entirely by Jefferson County. This marked a new milestone in the advancement of care to every citizens of Jefferson County.
Hiring Full-Time Paramedics
The progression did not stop there. Considering the advances in medical care and, most especially, pre-hospital care, the determination was made to begin hiring paramedics full-time to meet the needs of the citizens. (In the state of Kansas, Paramedics are certified as Mobile Intensive Care Technicians or MICT). In 1996, by recommendation of the County Commissioners, JCAS hired six full-time paramedics to cover three shifts and provide coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. The crews work 24-hour shifts from 8:00 am to 8:00 am on an A, B, and C shift schedule rotation.
Advancements in Services Provided
Once again, Jefferson County raised the bar on the standards for rural, pre-hospital care with the hiring of paramedics. In addition to the ALS standard of care provided by EMT-I and EMT-I/D, Paramedics provide Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and advanced pediatric care as well as the IV administration of medications, advanced invasive procedures for IV therapy, airway management, and other critical interventions. The medications administered range in scope from respiratory and cardiac therapy to pain management and seizure stabilization. Paramedics are also able to monitor cardiac conditions in both 4-lead and 12-lead EKG settings, perform transcutaneous cardiac pacing (TCP) and manual cardiac defibrillation.
Present Day Services
Because of this history of encouragement and support from the Commissioners and the citizens, Jefferson County Ambulance Service has been able to provide the highest level of pre-hospital care to patients. JCAS strives, even now, to ensure that our progression as pre-hospital care professionals continues to set the standard for EMS in Kansas.