Vernon College giving paramedic program a break

Vernon College giving paramedic program a break
(Source: KAUZ)

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Vernon College is giving its paramedic program a break. Dr. Gary Don Harkey, the dean of instructional services, said a new accrediting body for paramedic programs came out about four to five years ago. With it came a lot of new standards.

"It's quite a bit different than what it used to be," he said.

The paramedic program at Vernon College was grandfathered in and was operating under a letter of review from the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for Emergency Medical Services Professions or CoAEMSP.

"There were a lot of new standards for students exposure to patients and skills that frankly, we were having a difficult time getting our students exposed to," he said.

One example he gave said under the new standards, each student needed to have five intubations.

"This was very difficult with the clinical agreements we currently have in place," Dr. Harkey said.

Vernon College has been visiting with CoAEMSP since February in an effort to make sure the campus was meeting all the new standards.

"We needed a little more time to get our ducks in a row," Dr. Harkey said.

This is why Vernon College voluntarily requested to withdraw their immediate request for accreditation of its paramedic program.

There are three exit level courses in the EMS program. EMT Basic, EMT Advances, and Paramedic. The Texas Department of State Health Services regulates the EMT-Basic and EMT-Advanced course, but not the Paramedic course.

Under the new CoAEMSP standards, the EMS Director needed to be a licensed paramedic and have a bachelor's degree. That's something the college did not have until recently.

"Paul Vogt has been hired, but he just came on board on September 1st," he said.

Dr. Harkey said they hope to be offering paramedic classes by the fall of 2018.

"In the long run, it will benefit our students. We would rather sit on the sidelines and get things right than try to do things halfway," he said.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6

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