CMERA originated in 2010, when eight towns reached agreement with Emerson Hospital and Pro EMS to create an innovative solution to improve their regional paramedic intercept service without additional funding from local municipal budgets.
Pro EMS partners with Emerson Hospital to provide advanced life support (ALS) services to the eight communities of the Central Middlesex Emergency Response Association (CMERA).
The paramedic intercept service operates as Emerson Paramedics.
CMERA is controlled by an executive board consisting of Fire Chiefs and Town Managers from the communities within the partnership. Emerson Hospital provides medical supervision for the system. Pro EMS provides staffing, paramedic intercept vehicles, centralized dispatch, data collection, CQI, and additional EMS training to all CMERA communities.
Within its first year of operation, the CMERA system achieved several significant improvements and successes, including:
- 24/7 paramedic coverage was doubled, with additional resources available for peak times.
- System-status management, including web-based GPS/AVL and CAD, is utilized to reduce response times and improve intercept function.
- Paramedics have been able to respond to more calls with double the number of patients receiving ALS care.
- A set of defined dispatch criteria was established with a centralized ALS dispatch center.
- Elements of clinical sophistication have been added including, but not limited to, 12 lead EKG transmission, mechanical CPR, and Special Project Waivers.
- A system of centralized EMS data collection for the entire region for operations and system finances now exists, including the collection of customer satisfaction data from all patients.
- Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES).
The improvements resulted in the CMERA system winning the Metro Boston EMS Region IV Innovation Award in October 2010.
The eight towns in CMERA are Acton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, and Weston. Emerson Hospital provides medical supervision for these communities, which operate under the hospital’s medical license. In addition, Gert Walter, medical director of CMERA, provides oversight for the Emerson service area.