- What is VCEMS? Vassar College Emergency Medical Services (VCEMS) is a volunteer organization that provides high-quality, confidential emergency care to the Vassar College community. VCEMS operates from 5PM to 8AM from Sunday through Thursday and provides twenty-four hour coverage on Fridays and Saturdays.
- How do I contact VCEMS? For any on-campus emergency, please contact the Campus Response Center (CRC) at (845) 437-7333 or ext. 7333 (if you’re calling from a campus phone). Please call 911 for any off-campus emergency.
- When should I call VCEMS? Please call VCEMS for any type of medical emergency or traumatic injury that requires immediate attention. Examples include, but are not limited to: altered mental status, behavioral emergencies, chest pain, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, traumatic injuries (cuts, falls, burns, etc.) and alcohol/drug overdose. Please do not hesitate to call VCEMS. When in doubt, call for an evaluation.
- What is a typical call like? Once a call is received, CRC will dispatch the on-duty crew over the radio. An on-duty crew of 3 individuals will arrive on scene within ten minutes of being dispatched. The crew will ask the patient questions to obtain a medical history, record vital signs, and perform a physical exam. The crew may also administer medicine or treatment if deemed necessary. Patients who request transport to the hospital will be evaluated and transported by Arlington Fire Department. Patients who do not require transport can sign a Refusal of Medical Assistance (RMA).
- Are your services free? All VCEMS services are completely free. Transport to a local hospital by Mobile Life Support Services will incur a fee that most health insurance plans may cover.
- Will I have to go to the hospital if I call you? VCEMS will only call for transport to the hospital if the patient requests it, or if it is deemed medically necessary by the crew on-call. Any patient who requires transport will be transferred to Arlington Fire Department and Mobile Life Support Services Inc. or an equivalent service for further evaluation. Patients are then transported to either Vassar Brothers Medical Center of MidHudson Regional Hospital.
- What is the Good Samaritan Policy? The Good Samaritan Policy encourages students to seek medical treatment for alcohol/drug-related overdose. Any student who calls, or assists another student in calling VCEMS will not be found responsible for violation of alcohol/drug use or distribution. For more on the Good Samaritan Policy, please read the Vassar Student Handbook (pg. 92-93, Section V, Subsection C).
- Is there follow-up after a VCEMS call? Yes. In all cases where VCEMS responds to a call (medical, trauma, or intoxication emergencies) Health Services will follow up to ensure continuity of care. In instances where alcohol or drugs are involved in any way, the Director of Health Education will also follow up with the patient for a confidential meeting. If the student required hospital observation, the Dean of Students will also follow up with the student after the call. These meetings are to serve educational and supportive purposes and ensure that students are able to stay safe. These responses are not punitive and are not associated with the Student Conduct process (see Good Samaritan Policy).
- Why is Safety & Security on scene? Safety & Security accompanies VCEMS on scene for the safety of the responding crew. The VCEMS Confidentiality Policy prevents members of the crew from sharing patient information with Safety & Security without patient consent. The one exception to this policy is that the patient’s name may be provided in case of a hospital transport. As outlined in the Good Samaritan Policy, any information Security collects regarding alcohol/drug usage during a VCEMS call cannot be used to find students responsible for violating alcohol/drug use or distribution policies.
- Who has access to my PCR (Patient Care Report)? VCEMS write a patient care report for each call that is received. The report documents the patient’s chief complaint, medical history, vital signs, and any treatments or interventions that VCEMS may have provided. Copies of the PCR are provided to those whom VCEMS transfers care (e.g., Arlington Fire Department, Mobile Life) and records of the document are kept only to ensure continuity and quality of care. Baldwin Health Services maintains these records in strict confidentiality in accordance with professional, ethical, and legal guidelines.
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