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OTC Provost Tracy McGrady, left, joins Mercy’s Jon Swope, CoxHealth’s Steve Edwards and OTC Foundation board Chairman Curtis Jared to dedicate the newly formed partnership.
OTC Provost Tracy McGrady, left, joins Mercy’s Jon Swope, CoxHealth’s Steve Edwards and OTC Foundation board Chairman Curtis Jared to dedicate the newly formed partnership.

OTC partners with CoxHealth, Mercy to expand EMS program

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Ozarks Technical Community College partnered with CoxHealth and Mercy to expand its Emergency Medical Services program, officials announced this morning.

OTC spokeswoman Laura French said CoxHealth and Mercy’s EMS sponsorship supports the program director’s salary, freeing up funding for the community college to purchase new training equipment. OTC also is expanding to its Table Rock and Waynesville campuses later this year, bringing the program’s capacity to 80 EMTs and 44 paramedics by spring 2020, up from 20 EMTs and 20 paramedics currently.

French said the health systems contributed an undisclosed amount as part of the partnership, creating the CoxHealth & Mercy Emergency Medical Services Training Lab.

Through the partnership, Dr. Matthew Brandt of CoxHealth and Dr. Tom Lewis of Mercy will serve as associate medical directors for the EMS program. They’ll provide program oversight, including classroom instruction, curriculum development and clinical rotating planning, according to a news release.

“Dr. Brandt and Dr. Lewis are working with us to ensure we provide our students with the highest quality education available,” said Joshua Freeman, program director for OTC’s EMS program established in 1998, in the release. “Their insight into this ever-changing field helps us best meet the needs of our local health care systems.”

CoxHealth President and CEO Steve Edwards and Mercy Springfield Communities President Jon Swope spoke to the cooperation between the three institutions to improve EMS services in the area.

“Local EMS professionals now have access to the same high-quality training opportunities, regardless of which health system they work for,” Edwards said in the release.

Swope added: “It won’t matter if a Mercy or CoxHealth ambulance rolls up to a scene. Patients and their loved ones will know those first responders have received a consistent level of instruction thanks to this program at OTC.”

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