Alert: ImageTrend Elite Scheduled Outage: 7-12 December, 2016

The Office of EMS, in conjunction with ImageTrend and Virginia IT services, will be moving the Virginia Elite system (VAv3) to internal Commonwealth of Virginia based servers beginning on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016.  This transition will last until Monday, December 12th, 2016.  During this transition, the Virginia Elite system will NOT be available for online access.

Since Hospital Hub will not have access to any Virginia Elite medical records, agencies will need to make arrangements to ensure the smooth transfer of medical information to hospitals (in printed form) during this transition.

The Elite Field version (Offline – disconnected from the Internet) will still function during this transition.  All records collected can be posted once the Virginia Elite system comes back on line on Monday, December 12th.

This will also affect all 3rd party vendors currently using WebServices to transfer data to the Virginia Elite system.  During the transition, WebServices will be down.  Please notify your vendor of this transition so that they can take any needed steps to ensure records your system collects during this time will still be transmitted to the Virginia Elite system once the system comes back online.

If you have any questions, please send those to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Christmas Office Closures - Friday, December 23 & Monday, December 26, 2016

 

The PEMS office will be closed on Friday, December 23 & Monday, December 26 to observe Christmas holidays. 

We will reopen at 08:30 AM on Tuesday, 27 December.

Thank you.

 

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seal_of_the_commonwealth
Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2016

Office of the Governor
Contact: Brian Coy

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Virginia Department of Health
Contact: Maribeth Brewster

Phone: (804) 864-7008
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Opioid Addiction Crisis Declared a Public Health Emergency in Virginia 

~ Health officials join together to address growing opioid addiction crisis in Virginia ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP, has declared the Virginia opioid addiction crisis a Public Health Emergency.

This declaration comes in response to the growing number of overdoses attributed to opioid use, and evidence that Carfentanil, a highly dangerous synthetic opioid used to sedate large animals such as elephants, has made its way its way into Virginia. A Public Health Emergency is an event, either natural or manmade, that creates a health risk to the public.

“Too many families across Virginia and the nation are dealing with heartbreak and loss as a result of prescription opioid and heroin abuse epidemic,” said Governor McAuliffe. “We cannot stand by while these drugs harm our communities and our economy. That is why I support Dr. Levine’s decision to declare a public health emergency, to heighten awareness of this issue, provide a framework for further actions to fight it, and to save Virginians’ lives.”

In response to the Public Health Emergency, and in partnership with Virginia’s Board of Pharmacy, Department of Health Professions and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Dr. Levine has issued a standing order that allows all Virginians to obtain the drug Naloxone, which can be used to treat narcotic overdoses in emergency situations.

The standing order serves as a prescription written for the general public, rather than specifically for an individual, removing a barrier to access.

“As we see the nature of drug addiction shift, from prescription opioids to heroin and synthetic fentanyl, we must be vigilant and ready to respond quickly,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel. “The overdose rates in Virginia have led me to agree with Dr. Levine that we are indeed experiencing a public health emergency. This declaration helps us respond in a nimble way to a rapidly changing threat, while the Naloxone standing order from Dr. Levine broadens our ability to get life-saving medication into Virginians’ hands.”

“Thanksgiving offers many of us a chance to spend time with family and loved ones. While we are enjoying this time with those closest to us, it’s important that we take stock of their health and well-being,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa Levine. “Too many Virginia families have lost someone to opioid addiction. These actions today will not diminish their loss, but we owe it to them and each other to work together, watch out for each other and continue to combat the seriousness of this crisis.”

“Opioid abuse is devastating communities across the Commonwealth, including my home region of the Eastern Shore,” said Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam. “This is a public health emergency, and I thank Governor McAuliffe and Dr. Levine for their work creating greater access to Naloxone which will save lives in moments of crisis. As we move forward, we must continue to address the challenges of addiction and chronic pain management, including holding providers accountable for over-prescription.”

“My team and I worked with a bipartisan coalition to expand Naloxone availability because we knew it could save lives and prevent the tragedy and heartbreak that too many Virginia families already know,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “I really appreciate Governor McAuliffe and Dr. Levine’s continued commitment to addressing the opioid epidemic, especially taking the next step by issuing this landmark standing order that will make this lifesaving overdose antidote even more widely available.”

By the end of 2016, the numbers of fatal opioid overdose deaths are expected to increase by 77 percent, compared to five years ago. In 2014, for the first time in Virginia, more people died from opioid overdoses than fatal car accidents. Emergency department visits for heroin overdose for January-September 2016 increased 89 percent, compared to the same nine-month period in 2015. In the first half of 2016, the total number of fatal drug overdoses in Virginia increased 35 percent, when compared to the same time period in 2015, and in 2013, fatal drug overdoses became the number one cause of unnatural death.

“Pharmacists play an important role in combating opioid addiction,” said Virginia Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Caroline D. Juran, RPh. “By allowing Naloxone to be safely and responsibly issued by pharmacists to anyone in Virginia, friends and family members of individuals struggling with addiction can take a much-needed step towards preventing overdoses of loved ones.”

“For far too long, stigmas have plagued addiction struggles.  By declaring a public health emergency, the Commonwealth of Virginia is bringing the opioid epidemic to the forefront of public discussion,” said Dr. Jack Barber, Interim Commissioner, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. “It is important that all Virginians learn how to recognize the signs of addiction and be able to help those struggling with addiction to seek care.”

It can be difficult to know what to do when someone close to you is facing addiction, but there are simple things every Virginian can do to help those around them:

  1. Know the signs of addiction and substance use: Signs of recent opioid use include pinpoint pupils, sleepiness, “nodding” and scratching. Common signs of addiction include constant money problems; arrests; track marks and infections from needle use; lying about drug use; irritability and, when drugs can’t be obtained, physical withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, dilated pupils, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
  2. Talk to your loved ones: If you suspect that your friend or family member is struggling with addiction and substance use, talk with them. The state’s new website VaAware (http://vaaware.com/treatment-recovery/) offers resources on how to best discuss addiction with someone you love.
  3. Properly dispose of medications: If you have unused, expired or unwanted medications and need a way to safely dispose of them, you can now get a drug disposal bag from your Local Health Department. The bags allow for you to safely deactivate and dispose of medications in the privacy of your own home. Additionally, you may return unwanted prescription drugs for destruction to one of the authorized pharmacies listed at www.dhp.virginia.gov/pharmacy/destructionsites.asp. Some local law enforcement agencies also collect and destroy unwanted drugs.
  4. Obtain Naloxone: If someone in your life is struggling with opioid addiction, visit your local pharmacist to obtain Naloxone and keep it on hand for possible overdose emergencies. Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug (i.e. prescription pain medication or heroin). When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes. Naloxone has been used safely by medical professionals for more than 40 years and has only one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system in order to prevent death. Family members and friends can access this medication by obtaining a prescription from their family doctor or by visiting a participating pharmacy that can dispense the drug using the standing order issued by Dr. Levine. More information on Naloxone can be found at www.getnaloxonenow.org.
  5. Learn more: DBHDS provides Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education (OONE) to professionals, stakeholders and others through their REVIVE! program. Learn more about REVIVE! at www.dbhds.virginia.gov/individuals-and-families/substance-abuse/revive.

 ###

To view the published release, please visit: http://bit.ly/2gv3ueG

Elliot Meyer
Press Assistant

Office of Governor Terence R. McAuliffe
Direct: (804) 786-4401
General: (804) 786-2211

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 PEMS Region 2016 Governor's EMS Award Winners

EMS Regional AwardsThe Peninsulas EMS Council, Inc. is proud to announce that two of our 2016 PEMS Regional EMS Award winners have been recognized by Governor Terry McAuliffe at the 2016 Governor's EMS Award Ceremony in Norfolk on Saturday, 12 November.  

KopczynskiFire Chief Stephen P. Kopczynski of York County Department of Fire and Life Safety was selected for the inaugural 2016 James A. Nogle Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response. 

For more than 25 years, Chief Kopczynski has been involved in EMS and emergency management.  Not content to be the leader of an award-winning fire and EMS agency, Chief Kopczynski also helped develop the Hampton Roads Metropolitan Medical Response System and has assisted in its oversight for over a decade.  In addition, he was one of the founders of the Virginia-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team and has served as one of its directors for over eight years.  He helped organize the Virginia Fire Service Council and is a major supporter of the Virginia Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement.  Chief Kopczynski also spearheaded the Hampton Roads Fire Chiefs Association as well as the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission's Regional Emergency Management Technical Advisory Committee to ensure that the region remains prepared for emergencies and disaster response situations.

As a result of his efforts, York County, the region and the Commonwealth are better trained and equipped, and have more robust, strategically located, integrated and exercised resources to respond to the medical consequences of a natural or man-made disaster.

Congratulations, Chief Kopczynski, for your selection as the 2016 Jim Nogle Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Emergency Preparedness and Response.  Thank you for all that you do!

 

WestKatherine West, BSN, MSEd, CIC, owner and course director for Infection Control Emergening Concepts, Inc., was selected for the 2016 Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety.

Ms. West has been involved with infection control in EMS since 1978.  She is a recognized expert throughout the world, having published several texts, served as a consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute  for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  Katherine also currently sits on the faculty of the George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Even while sought out nationally as a speaker and presenter, Katherine takes the time to answer queries from her alumni when they are challenged by the often confused circumstances involving potential exposures and agency policies.  She provides a reassuring voice to agency leaders, managers and medical providers when they need it most.   Her training program has prepared hundreds of us to face these events with confidence.  When circumstances exceed our comfort zone, Katherine regularly provides well-founded guidance that meets both legal and practical requirements.

Congratulations, Katherine, for your selection as the 2016 Governors Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS Health and Safety.  Thank you for your service to the Virginia Emergency Medical Services system!

"It is always an honor and a privelege to see the top performers in our region recognized for their hard work and and dedication to our regional EMS system through nomination by their peers for all of our regional awards," said PEMS Executive Director Michael Player.  "We are even more pleased when these efforts are recognized also by the Governor's Award Selection Committee and Governor McAuliffe, so please join us in honoring this year's Governor's EMS Award winners from PEMS region - Fire Chief Stephen Kopczynski and Ms. Katherine West.  Thank you both for your exceptional work for our EMS system over these many years!"

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Alert: Intranasal Mucosal Atomization Device Recall - DO NOT USE

Teleflex Medical has issued a recall of several lot numbers of the Intranasal Mucosal Atomization Device (MAD), including those carried in many of the PEMS Medication Kits.

Because use of the recalled devices can lead to serious injury or death in certain emergency situations, use of MAD devices is prohibited for use in the field until further notice.

The Pharmacy Committee, in coordination with PEMS staff, has implemented a plan for removing recalled devices from PEMS Medication Kits beginning immediately. 

When sufficient supplies of unaffected devices become available, they will be replaced in the Medication Kits and providers will be notified that use may resume.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

Please redistribute this notice.

(Posted 11-02-16)

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