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Tri-County Health Care earns CALS Designation

WADENA —Tri-County Health Care was designated a Comprehensive Advanced Life Support hospital by a coalition of Minnesota health care organizations and individuals. Minnesota’s CALS program provides advanced life-support education to rural health care providers.  

 “We are proud to be one of the five CALS certified hospitals in Minnesota,” said Deb Zacharias, ER nursing supervisor. “This designation recognizes our commitment to the care of rural emergency patients and emphasizes teamwork.”  

The CALS educational program includes extensive print and electronic material, interactive education, and hands-on skills training. Features that distinguish CALS from other life support courses include: 

• CALS prepares the participant to deal with trauma, cardiac, general medical, OB, pediatric and neonatal emergencies as well. 

• The program is designed for health care teams working in rural areas and other settings in which the full complement of resources such as specialists and specialized equipment may not be readily available.  

• CALS adheres to the team approach to training and real-world practice. Some life 

support courses train just part of the team; others provide uniform training to all participants, regardless of scope of practice. CALS brings together teams of physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and paramedics and provides practical training that includes  development of the team itself.

• CALS advocates a systems-based approach that links health care institutions and providers at all levels and stages of emergency care in a continuous network of support for the victim of a serious illness or injury. 

“The primary focus of CALS curriculum is to train medical teams in rural areas to anticipate, recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies,” said Kathy Kleen, chief nursing officer, in a news release. “Because of the dedication of Joel Beiswenger, TCHC president and CEO; Dr. Steve Davis, emergency medical director; Deb Zacharias, ER nursing supervisor; and all of Tri-County Health Care physicians, nursing staff and physician assistants, I am confident that our team is prepared to respond to the variety of medical emergencies that may arise.”  

The first CALS program was developed in Minnesota in 1996 as a result of collaboration among emergency medicine and family physicians, rural practitioners and academic specialists, and nurses, nurse practitioners, PA’s, paramedics and others. The CALS program has gone on to be adopted in much of the United States, in parts of Canada and throughout the world.  

Since its inception, more than 6,000 health care professionals have been trained at CALS courses in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas and California and in Canada. State Trauma Advisory Councils of both Minnesota and Wisconsin have approved CALS as one of the training programs that can be used to qualify hospitals for specified levels of trauma designation. CALS has been selected by the U.S. State Department as the preferred source of medical training for U.S. Embassies around the world. 

For more information, contact Deb Zacharias, ER Nursing Supervisor, at (218) 632-8767.