West Reading, PA. – Leaders at Tower Health and Southern Berks Regional Emergency Medical Service (SBREMS) in Berks County announced today that they have completed an agreement to merge SBREMS with TowerDIRECT, the non-profit ambulance company owned by Tower Health, effective December 6, 2020. This merger creates a unified patient transportation system that will serve Berks County and the Tower Health service area. Under the Tower Health brand, this new model for EMS care and transportation will include critical care, emergent, and non-emergent patient transportation. Including SBREMS, TowerDIRECT will have 141 employees responding to more than 22,000 calls annually.
“Tower Health is committed to ensuring access to high quality Emergency Medical Services in Berks County,” said Clint Matthews, president and CEO of Tower Health. “We are pleased that we can work with SBREMS providers, which shares Tower Health’s long tradition of community service.”
According to Edward B. Michalik, PsyD, chairman of Southern Berks Regional EMS Board of Directors, “Regional EMS providers face challenges related to changing payment models and workforce development. Over the past few years we have been collaborating with Tower Health to understand how we can work together to ensure the viability of EMS service in our region.”
This innovative approach will provide multiple benefits to the community, including:
· Improved availability and sustainability of emergency, non-emergency, critical care, and pediatric patient transport services for communities within Berks County and the Tower Health service area;
· The opportunity to enhance patient care and improve operational performance;
· Real-time access to the Tower Health electronic medical records to measure and improve patient outcomes;
· Better access to patient transport services, improving the timeliness of discharge from inpatient and outpatient facilities;
· Enhanced efforts to improve patient care initiation and transitions in care settings; and
· The ability to enhance community paramedicine and patient outreach programs.
Charles Barbera, MD, Vice President of Prehospital and Unscheduled Care for Tower Health and TowerDIRECT stated, “Tower Health is committed to the strong emergency 911 work SBREMS is doing within Berks County and we are committed to continuing this level of service while providing expanded services and sustainability for the future of EMS.”