Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center, Sheboygan County Sheriff and Acuity Insurance team up to improve cardiac arrest survival rates

New program will train 911 dispatchers how to provide instructions to family members and bystanders to begin care for cardiac arrest patients before paramedics arrive

October 02, 2017

Sheboygan – Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center, working collaboratively with the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office and Acuity Insurance, will roll out Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) across Sheboygan County, a new system that provides dispatchers the ability to offer pre-arrival instructions and CPR coaching to bystanders who are with a person who may be experiencing cardiac arrest. The program is designed to help improve patient survival rates during cardiac incidents.

As part of an Aurora Health Care supported campaign When Minutes Matter, 911 dispatchers will now provide instructions to 911 callers involved with cardiac arrest scenarios as well as other serious and potentially life-threatening situations, including resuscitation techniques and chest compressions, enabling citizens to provide initial support to cardiac arrest victims until first responders arrives

The EMD system was made possible through a generous donation of $125,000 from Sheboygan-based Acuity Insurance.  This donation fully funds program implementation costs for Sheboygan County. "Acuity is a longstanding supporter of facilities, programs, and initiatives that provide needed healthcare services in the community. We are proud to help Aurora Health Care in its efforts to enhance the capabilities of emergency responders and provide an even greater level of lifesaving services to the community,” said Ben Salzmann, Acuity President and CEO.

According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, only 10.6 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive. Yet if cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques are provided by bystanders and an automated external defibrillator (AED) device is used to treat victims before emergency personnel arrives, survival rates increase to 38 percent.

Steven Zils, M.D., out-of-hospital medical director and emergency medicine physician with Aurora Health Care, has led the efforts to implement pre-arrival instructions in order to save more lives.

“We know that when an individual suffers cardiac arrest, each second is critical to their survival,” said Dr. Zils. “The unfortunate reality is that many 911 dispatch centers across the country don’t provide pre-arrival instructions, and as we began to investigate this here in Sheboygan County, it became a clear opportunity to work with our dispatch center and community partners to save more lives.” 

The Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office began a multi-week training program in August to become proficient in the new EMD system. The training included classroom time and hands-on simulations to ensure they are fully prepared for providing pre-arrival instructions for all 911 calls.

“The new system is a great example of a community partnership program focused on saving lives,” said Sheriff Todd Priebe. “Our dispatchers are the first part of any life-saving call for help. They are now trained to help callers by offering instructions in cardiac arrest events. We’re thrilled to see it be available in Sheboygan County.”

The new system will officially be implemented on October 9th, 2017.

The When Minutes Matter initiative is a multi-dimensional program being led by Aurora Health Care and the Aurora Health Care Foundation. The $570,000 campaign includes the new EMD system; EMS support vehicles that can travel throughout the county to provide immediate, on-scene oversight and education; expansion of community CPR training to ensure more people in the community are comfortable with providing CPR in the event of an emergency; the purchase of five AEDs over the next three years for public places across Sheboygan County; and enhanced, pediatric simulation training for EMS providers.

About Aurora Health Care

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin's most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics, 70 pharmacies and 30,000 amazing Caregivers. As evidenced by more than 400 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account. 


About Acuity Insurance

Acuity, headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is a property and casualty insurer that operates in 26 states, generates nearly $1.4 billion in revenue through 1,000 independent agencies, and manages over $4 billion in assets. Named one of the top 10 large companies to work for in America, Acuity employs over 1,200 people.

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