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Heart saver Ray Eickmeyer steps up as new EMS director at Lake Chelan Community Hospital

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Paramedic Ray Eickmeyer named the new EMS Director. (Photo provided by Lake Chelan Community Hospital)

Paramedic Ray Eickmeyer, who has 25 years of experience in emergency medicine, was recently honored for his heart-saving abilities, as well as hired as new Director of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) department at Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC).

“My passion is high quality emergency care that makes a difference to the community,” said Ray. “I especially like that we can help people at their times of greatest need – one person at a time.”

Replacing Karl Jonasson, who served in the director position for more than 25 years, Ray wants to continue the excellent service Jonasson built and provided to the valley, he said. He also looks forward to working on a new community paramedic program. This is an extension of patients’ existing medical care and may at some time include home visits to check on individuals.

Ray earned his bachelors of science in Paramedicine in 1997 and has been the EMS Operations Manager at LCCH since 2010, as well as interim director. A governing board member of the North Central Washington Accountable Communities of Health and chairman of the Greater Wenatchee EMS and Trauma Care council, Ray is also a speaker and educator. He and his wife Christine have lived in the Chelan Valley since 1999 and have two children.

Last month Ray received the Perfect CPR Award from Laerdal and Healthstream. He is one of only two people in the nation to make that achievement.

It’s a fitting award for a man who led the charge to improve cardiac arrest survival in Chelan and Douglas counties. In 2010, Ray was the first in the region to attend a resuscitation academy in Seattle. He came home with a passion to improve our area’s system and helped regional emergency medical professionals embark on a radical change for our community.

The team started by implementing High Performance CPR, with Ray instrumental in the training process. He also established rigorous training for Lake Chelan EMS to ensure the highest quality choreographed CPR and was very supportive in the establishment of a Quality Improvement Officer to allow review and feedback of actual cardiac arrest cases. The result was a number one rating in the state for two of the last four years for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest save rates.

“I am very grateful for the positive energy Ray injects into our system,” said Dr. Lance Jobe, medical program director of Chelan and Douglas County EMS, “and for all the hard work he does to improve survival from cardiac arrest throughout Chelan and Douglas counties.”

Ray has received multiple other awards, including, but not limited to, LCCH Employee of the Year, Outstanding Safety Leadership and Excellence in Safety awards (out of 33 Hospitals), Washington State Emergency Cardiac and Stroke TAC award for helping implement the state’s first ECS system, Life Saving award from Chelan County Fire District #7, American Red Cross Hometown Hero award and Administrator of the Year award for Chelan/Douglas County – Greater Wenatchee EMS Council. He is also the preparedness coordinator at LCCHC.

Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics Commits to Improving Resuscitation Outcomes

The American Heart Association’s (AHA) Resuscitation Quality Improvement (RQI) Program is a groundbreaking new approach to maintaining competence in CPR. It takes CPR training a step farther than traditional training programs, keeping CPR skills fresh through quarterly skills practice.

Performing CPR is not a part of many health care providers’ regular practices. In fact, some rarely perform it other than during bi-annual training. As a result, CPR compression and ventilation skills degrade, and overall CPR effectiveness is reduced

To help Chelan caregivers stay confident in their CPR skills, LCCHC now uses AHA RQI. Its premise says that brief and regular skills practice — referred to as “low-dose/high-frequency” training — leads to higher-quality CPR skills.

The RQI Program uses realistic eSimulation patient cases and a mobile RQI cart equipped with adult and infant manikins for regular psychomotor skills activities. The training provides audio feedback on hand positioning, compression rate and depth and ventilation rate that an alternative CPR manikin simply cannot provide. With focus shifted from course completion to ongoing competency in CPR skills, RQI allows caregivers at LCCHC to more effectively retain lifesaving CPR skills.

“The hospital’s commitment to improving CPR effectiveness will improve patient care and save lives,” said Ray Eickmeyer, LCCHC EMS Director.

Lake Chelan Community Hospital EMS also offers monthly first aid and CPR/AED classes to the community. For more information, visit LakeChelanHospital.com, email cpr@lcch.net or call (509) 393-8681.

(By Celeste Thomas, LCCH)




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