Sussex EMS paramedics earn AHA’s Silver Plus Award

Karen Gritton, director of development for the American Heath Association, presents Robert Mauch, manager of quality and standards for Sussex County EMS, with the AHA’s Mission LifeLine Silver Plus Award.

GEORGETOWN – It’s now a bit more than a silver lining.

Sussex County Emergency Medical Services’ nationally-recognized paramedic program has mined another prestigious honor, landing American Heart Association’s Mission LifeLine Silver Plus Achievement Award.

Presented at county council’s July 24 meeting, the AHA award recognizes Sussex EMS paramedics for exceeding benchmarks for quick response time in treating heart attack and stroke patients.

“I am very pleased with the progress and also the quick response times for the Sussex County EMS. We’re all benefiting from that,” said Karen Gritton, American Heart Association’s director of development.

“Every day our paramedics come to work and go out and do a good job and provide quality service. You never know what that day is going to entail,” said Rob Mauch, manager of quality and standards for Sussex County EMS. “Certainly, at the top of that list is going out and treating heart attack patients and those suffering from strokes.”

About a year ago Sussex County EMS received the 2017 American Heart Association Mission LifeLine Silver Medal Award.

“Well, as 2017 came to an end, it was time to re-evaluate the numbers and see where we stood,” said Mr. Mauch. “Many of the measures that the American Heart Association puts out, they are looking for general compliance level of about 75 percent, knowing that for any circumstance there is always room for extenuating circumstances and delays. I am very happy to say that our paramedics have gone out and not only met but exceeded expectations … we’ve pretty much blown them away.”

Mr. Mauch said one AHA compliance level measures the time paramedics arrive at a patient to completing an EKG to look for a heart attack. The compliance window is 10 minutes.

“We’re generally about 94 percent compliance with that 10-minute window,” said Mr. Mauch.

Another key component is quickly notifying the receiving hospital that there is a heart attack patient on the way.

“The hospitals look at a door-to-balloon time, looking at having that done within 90 minutes. Ninety-seven percent of time in 2017 from the time we arrive at the patient until that balloon is inflated in the Cath lab is less than 90 minutes,” Mr. Mauch said. “Our paramedics have done an outstanding job with recognizing these heart attack patients and calling the hospitals and the hospitals taking us at our word and calling the teams in if it is after hours so we can get this treatment started as quickly as possible.”

Stellar work of the Sussex EMS drew kudos from Michael Vincent, county council president.

“As always, thank all of you for the good job you do for our citizens. You do a great job,” Mr. Vincent.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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