Why We Do It: Our Patients
It's not uncommon for most people to have memory lapses from a year ago, and for some of us—what we had for dinner last night. So we're going to take a moment to refresh memories of 2016, Brewster style.
Looking back, we accomplished quite a bit in 2016. As a company, our partnerships with customers and those we closely work with are better than ever. What made that possible? The solidarity and quality performance of the Brewster team. Before we jump into 2016 highlights, we want to thank everyone on our team, our customers, municipal partners and EMS supporters in the communities we serve for helping us provide the best care possible to our patients in 2016.
Exceptional patient care is at the heart of everything we do.
In 2016, we completed over 50,000 911 Emergency Response calls and over 235,000 transports. Whew!
To help our team perform more efficiently in the field, improve response times and keep billing flowing accurately and smoothly, we invested in new dispatch and billing software in 2016.
We are using Zoll's RescueNet EMS computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system which has an easier interface that streamlines call taking and improves response times. In addition, we are also using Zoll's RescueNet ePCR software which allows customization to suit our operation and record patient data from the initial call through the patient continuum of care.
The software also gives our billing department the ability to create detailed reports and process claims much faster. This new technology replaced outdated products that no longer met our needs for how we plan to grow and provide better service to our customers.
Because patients are at the heart of everything we do, we are always seeking better, safer and more efficient ways for our teams to care for our patients. In 2016, we revamped our entire fleet. This included evaluating every vehicle and assessing the remaining lifespan, safety features, and effectiveness of the vehicles in our fleet to make sure we were well covered and able to deliver the best response times.
In the last few years as we have added several new 911 emergency municipal contracts, those contracts included the purchase of new ALS and BLS vehicles. In 2016, we made an investment in the AEV Type II Transit van which are better suited to our growing demands and meet the new safety guidelines set forth by the state of Massachusetts. In total, we purchased over 60 new vehicles including new ALS and BLS ambulances, chair cars, fleet maintenance vehicles and a heavy duty pickup for our mechanics.
CMTI Purchase Brings more Training Opportunities
On April 21, 2016, Brewster Ambulance Service made official the purchase of CMTI (Comprehensive Medical Training Institute, Inc.), further extending our ability to provide a more robust EMS educational platform to our team and other EMS providers.
The Brewster Ambulance Service Education Division is responsible for tracking and implementing all required training for over 1,000 Brewster team members as well as six municipalities and the nursing facilities we serve.
We have conducted over 350 classes in 2016 and issued close to 3,000 certification cards to our employees and our customers. We have also implemented an EMS Field Training Officer program (FTO) QA/QI program and a PAT (Physical Agility Testing) for new hires in 2016.
CMTI starts their 25th EMT class in January 2017 and 13th Paramedic class in February 2017.
New Contracts & New Locations
There are always new customers being brought on board by the Brewster Ambulance sales team, and 2016 saw many new retail engagements that have helped more fully deploy our service lines. Additionally, Brewster Ambulance kicked off two new contracts: the XFINITY® Center in Mansfield and our sixth municipal 911 emergency contract with the City of Taunton, both starting July 1, 2016.
Being a seasonal operation, the XFINITY Center ran much more smoothly than in prior years due to better coverage and more collaboration with local fire and police departments. Taunton's service was tested from the first few hours of the contract, and continues to be a successful engagement that also employees a great team and partnership with Taunton's fire and police departments.
With new contracts both retail and 911 come new locations. We opened several new locations in New Bedford, Fall River, an additional location in Taunton, Wareham and replaced a base in Braintree.
Brewster Insights Newsletter
As Brewster Ambulance Service continues to experience unprecedented growth, keeping the team informed and connected becomes an increasingly challenging, but doable task given the commitment of the Brewster family. To keep the team updated and provide the public information about the company and what Brewster Ambulance is doing, we created Brewster Insights. This new monthly newsletter is offered to the general public as well as the Brewster Ambulance team. It provides insights into the company as well as how we are improving EMS delivery.
Our goal is to be as transparent as possible and provide our readers helpful tips on safety, professional growth, and an increased awareness of the outstanding performance of our team. After surveying the Brewster team and asking what they wanted included in a monthly newsletter, we found that the most requested topics included:
- New developments inside the company and/or team
- Training and education
- Company direction
- Customer interactions and successes
- Tips and techniques to make your job safer and easier
- Health and wellness
We responded with seven Brewster Insights issues that launched in May, 2016, and included 21 articles covering those (above) and other topics. Readership continues to beat industry benchmarks, with a high of 79.1% subscriber open rate and a 38.4% click-through rate which drove website traffic up 36%.
To design the content and topics to be covered in the forthcoming 2017 issues, subscribers were invited to complete a readership survey, letting us know what interests them now. We continue to remain committed to providing transparency, education and insight into what we are doing to succeed at Brewster Ambulance to our team and our communities.
On December 9, 2016, the Brewster family purchased EasCare, a division of Medavie Blue Cross of Canada. In 1998, EasCare started as an independent ambulance service company with six ambulances and 22 employees. In 2012, EasCare was sold to Medavie Blue Cross, and in the four years ensuing, Medavie managed the division from Canada.
Last November the opportunity was presented to the Brewster family to purchase EasCare from Medavie. After an accelerated feasibility study and careful consideration as to how a purchase such as this would impact Brewster Ambulance Service as a company, the Brewsters decided it was in the best interest of not only Brewster Ambulance, but more so in the best interest of EasCare and its over 500 employees as well as the customers it serviced. The Brewster family wanted to make sure that the EasCare team continued to have employment coming into 2016.
It was announced individually to the EasCare and Brewster Ambulance Service teams that the purchase was in the works on December 1, shortly followed by a second internal announcement to each team that the purchase was finalized on December 9th.
This change in ownership involved transferring all assets including ambulances, trademarks and technology systems, allowing Brewster Ambulance to take responsibility for the existing EasCare operations and brand. For the Brewster team, there were no changes in scheduling or reporting structure and it was also business as usual for the EasCare team throughout the transition. The acquisition was intended to strengthen the competitive position for Brewster and also EasCare.
Keeping it Real, Keeping it Local
What is exceptional about this entire transaction is that it was the first of its kind where a local, family-owned private company purchased a competitor owned by an international mega corporation. This is rare and unprecedented, and transactions like this often are the opposite where the mega corporation buys out the local independent to expand it's footprint and market share. Not here, though.
The other critical factor to know about this transaction is that the Brewster family purchased a company whose sustainability was critical and in jeopardy. It was not about increasing market share or gaining competitive edge—this was about a family caring enough to save the jobs of over 500 people and continuing to provide service to EasCare customers. Now, EasCare has the financial stability to continue operation and growth, and will prosper because it now has local management and ownership and can keep supporting the local economy through its operation.
EasCare employees kept their seniority, their benefits, and retained their pay. The Brewster family hopes to help EasCare with the same formulas that have made Brewster Ambulance Service successful, all the while learning from EasCare what makes them successful and sharing in a common cause to deliver the highest quality patient care, together.
Brewster Drone Update
2016 was an outstanding year for the Brewster Ambulance drone fleet and pilots. We have been increasing our drone support for accident reconstruction, security, search and rescue, overwatch for law enforcement, aerial monitoring for fire departments and aerial assessment from storm damage. In 2016, the Brewster drones accomplished the following milestones:
- 349 missions flown
- 44 hours and 39 minutes of flight
- Covered a distance of 1,120,257 feet
- Top single-mission distance 15,898 feet
- Max takeoff altitude 684.5 feet
- Top speed 60 MPH
Corporate Headquarters Build
Brewster Ambulance Service officially broke ground in the spring of 2016 at the site of the new corporate headquarters in Weymouth. The buildout continues to progress on schedule, and you can read more about the headquarters build here. The building will have a new sophisticated communications center, state-of-the-art climate control, onsite vehicle refueling, an energy efficient system for washing vehicles and much more. The pitched roof is not only specially engineered to accommodate snow and rain runoff, but it is also designed to hold the weight of solar panels for potential future greening of the building.
This is an outline of the planned building assets, subject to design and cost constraints:
- Purpose-designed communications center furniture
- Brand new installation of Zoll CAD for dispatch
- Brand new radio consoles to control multiple radio systems
- Redundant connections to critical networks including microwave backhaul
- Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) monitoring
- Up-to-date network infrastructure
- Up-to-date telephone system
- Audio/video systems (potentially with web conferencing) in conference rooms and training area
- Building security and access control systems
Holiday Give Back
We all love the holidays at Brewster Ambulance. It allows us all to extend our appreciation of our team, our customers and our communities in a big way. In 2016, our team and family participated in holiday giving including:
- 450 turkeys given out to employees for Thanksgiving
- 29 turkey dinners given out Thanksgiving day for working crew members, feeding 300+ employees
- 29 ham dinners given out Christmas day for working crew members, feeding 300+ employees
- 1,000 beach towels given to the part- and full-time Brewster Ambulance team and 500 beach towels given to the part- and full-time EasCare team
- 250 holiday cakes delivered to 53 facilities with two visiting Santas handing out 5,300 ornaments to patients in those facilities
- Collected ambulances-full of toys for Christmas toy drives
- Company holiday party with over 400 attending
We continued to grow our customer base as well as our team in 2016. The quality of a person's experience, skill set and commitment to the patient are all factors we consider thoughtfully when expanding our team. In 2016, we had the following milestones in those hired in 2016 that remain active today:
- ALS – 89
- BLS – 230
- Chair Car – 34
- Dispatch – 17
- Maintenance – 1
- Management – 4
- Marketing – 5
- Billing - 3
More Milestones Ahead for 2017
Looking back on 2016, we are proud to see the accomplishments made possible by our hardworking team, partnerships and leadership. We expect to continue this performance in 2017 and beyond, and welcome new technology, ideas and partnerships that forward our continued success.
We will keep sharing what we're doing at Brewster Ambulance Service through the articles contained in Brewster Insights. Click here to subscribe.