Since its inception 25 years ago, the paramedic program at Windham Hospital has saved countless lives, built partnerships with 16 fire departments and served the 400-square-mile community around the hospital.
In 1995, the town of Windham recognized the need for paramedic or advanced life support services in the Windham and Willimantic area. With the help of Windham Hospital and a generous donation from a community member, the hospital created the 24/7 paramedic program and responded to its’ first call on March 17, 1995. Since then, the program has helped to drastically reduce the mortality rate in Windham county.
“The Windham Hospital paramedic program is considered one of the best in the state, maybe the best in the state, but I’m partial,” said Paul Pedchenko, EMS Manager at Windham Hospital.
Today, the program employs 15 paramedics who work around the clock responding to calls in the community and supporting the Windham Hospital emergency department staff.
The program is also the only one in the state which requires all of its full-time employees to maintain a critical care level of certification, making the team the most highly qualified ground transport service in the state.
“The Windham Paramedic program has long established itself as one of the best programs in the region. The paramedics working in the program continue to provide the highest quality care possible using innovative treatment modalities. It is testament to their alignment with our HHC vision to be most trusted for personalized and coordinated care,” says HHC System Director of EMS, Kevin Ferrarotti.
As the only hospital-based paramedic program in the Hartford HealthCare system the program recently launched a preceptor program to help build a paramedic program at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington. Pedchenko says he hopes to help build paramedic programs at the other Hartford HealthCare hospitals as well.
The program has partnerships with paramedic programs across the state including New Britian EMS Academy, Hartford HealthCare’s paramedic program and Capital Community College in Hartford. The partnership provides paramedics in training with mentoring and ‘ride time’ opportunities with the Windham team. The program also provides training for local first responders and students interested in emergency management services at RHAM high school in Hebron.
“We are very proud and very fortunate to have a strong paramedic program and our hospital and a great relationship with our community partners,” said Donna Handley, president of the East Region.
For more information, about the paramedic program at Windham Hospital, visit www.windhamhospital.org/education-research/paramedic-program