State report finds lack of cooperation between emergency services in Grand County |

State report finds lack of cooperation between emergency services in Grand County

Audrey Jennings, education captain for Grand County EMS, speaks after the state presentation about the efforts they have made to share protocols with Middle Park Health and other emergency agencies.
McKenna Harford /

There is a lack of communication and collaboration between Grand County agencies, according to a recent report issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on the state of local emergency medical and trauma services.

The report examined 12 topics relating to emergency services, such as finances, clinical care, public education and integration of health services, and gave recommendations for each. By far the most frequent recommendations urge Grand County agencies to communicate more and work together to create standard protocols and build a better working relationship.

The state health department consulted with the county in January to analyze emergency services and presented its findings to county commissioners on Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, good patient care starts with good communication and sharing of best practices,” said Randy Kuykendall, division director of medical facilities and emergency medical services for CDPHE. “There’s absolutely no question that the providers (…) are highly trained, highly skilled and highly dedicated to protecting the lives of the citizens across the county.”

Kuykendall emphasized that the current system is functioning, but the recommendations are opportunities for the emergency agencies to better their services.

Grand County has three medical directors and several different emergency agencies and medical providers, but doesn’t have a channel of communication that connects the stakeholders, all of the county’s medical services, according to Jeff Beckman, a consultant for CDPHE.

Specifically, the report noted a poor relationship between Grand County EMS and Middle Park Health – Granby. Emergency service providers at both organizations were critical of one another to the point of “animosity,” which was exacerbated by the lack of communication, according to Karl Gills, a consultant on the report.

“There’s no question that the relationship between those two organizations is a challenge to achieving integration in your county,” Gills told commissioners. “We talked about the need to improve the flow of communication amongst all the providers, but we really think that the flow of communication between Grand County EMS and (Middle Park Health – Granby) needs to be focused on.”

The report suggested that it would be beneficial for all of the stakeholders to collaborate when making protocols, providing new education or training, during evaluations and when educating the public.

Other recommendations focused on upgrading the equipment and facilities used by emergency services, such as new dispatch radios, a better data terminal for records, using online education tools and improving ambulance stations.

The report didn’t note any areas where the emergency agencies could cut costs or save money, which reflects positively on the fiscal responsibility of the agencies.

“We’ve asked the question what are you doing to tighten the belt, to make sure that you’re not overspending,” commented Carl Craigle, a consultant on the report. “We were left with the impression that there is a constant, ongoing effort being made to look for those opportunities.”

Another section of the state’s report focused on public education and outreach, and encouraged the agencies to continue their current efforts and expand them to include social media, public information campaigns and a public needs assessment. Overall, the consultants praised both West and East Grand High Schools’ EMT program and the community interactions local health providers already have.

County Commissioner Merrit Linke said the county board will be reviewing the recommendations and starting discussions about them. Linke said it was clear that opening communication between the stakeholders is a necessary next step.

“The first thing we need to do is figure how to get a group of people together to communicate and collaborate and share that knowledge,” he said.

2018 Grand County Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Consultation (Text)

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