Kevin Grant of Cooke County EMS
Kevin Grant is the chief of Cooke County EMS in Gainesville, Texas. TEMSA recently asked Chief Grant for his thoughts on the future of EMS in Texas.
TEMSA: What are the greatest challenges that you currently face in Cooke County?
Kevin Grant: Several of our “greatest challenges” include:
- Educating the commissioners court about what we do. They do not always understand what we do and how we operate. We have to work through projects with them and educate them about what we do. An EMS agency operates 24/7 and is a very unique government service that has many unique challenges that other government services do not have.
- Being rural EMS, we continue to struggle with recruitment. We have spent many hours trying to figure out the best recruitment method to attract paramedics. This goes with the first challenge: Educating the court on the difficulty of recruiting paramedics because members of the younger generation do not have servant hearts. We have a good working environment, great equipment, and a good starting wage. But when you look at what younger paramedics are seeking, we are a smaller department, we don’t have step raises, and the ability for promotion is limited. Couple that with high dependent cost for insurance, we have a challenge keeping team members, and we often lose them to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
- Reimbursement, as with every other health care provider, is getting more difficult, and it will continue to be more difficult in the future.
TEMSA: What are some of the greatest advances in EMS that you have witnessed over the past decade?
Kevin Grant: Wow, where to start? I would have to look at the clinical side and really concentrate on the cardiac care and stroke care. As a result of our strong relationship with cardiac care centers, a diagnosis of MI with 15-lead ECGs and other means can be made, which leads to the immediate treatment in a cath lab. Our EMS team has the ability to watch the patient be treated in the cath lab and witness the patient’s immediate improvement. Much can be said with advancements in stroke care in the EMS setting. As a result of the EMS advancements, many patients are able to walk out of the hospital without noticeable deficits.
TEMSA: Where do you see EMS in Texas in 10 years?
Kevin Grant: If we take the last 10 years as an example, we will continue to advance our skills and improve patient outcomes. We really need to advance our mental health care for our team members, we need to continue to advance our safety measures for our team members, and we need to start programs to get young people excited about EMS. We have started a “junior EMS” program for young people from the ages of 13 to 17. Our hope that these will be the paramedics of the future and future EMS leaders. We need to promote mentorship within our organizations to get the younger team members excited about being managers. The pool of EMS managers is getting less and less, and if we do not mentor team members, we are going to find ourselves without management staff.
TEMSA: Why do you think that it is important for EMS agencies to be part of TEMSA?
Kevin Grant: As a newer TEMSA member and by attending my first EMS EVOLUTION in June, I have found a lot of great information. TEMSA is a great opportunity for EMS leaders to change the course of EMS in the state of Texas. The information that is shared and the wealth of knowledge that is being shared is great for any leader or prospective leader. From reimbursement to our team members’ health to the great networking capabilities, every EMS agency should belong and get involved. We are the only ones who can change the future of EMS in the state of Texas.