IOWA (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – Taking a page from the Orthodox Jewish community’s playbook, Iowa’s lieutenant governor announced concrete steps during his inaugural speech to provide better emergency medical services in rural areas by launching a pilot program that would leverage the abilities of nearby trained volunteers.
Speaking at his January 10th inauguration, Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg shared that he had learned about the United Hatzalah model on a trade mission to Israel, which provides emergency care with an average 90 second response time within Jerusalem. With emergency response times presenting a formidable problem in Iowa’s rural areas, Gregg announced that he hoped to tackled the long-standing issue “with an assist from our friends in the Holy Land.”
“Hatzalah is the Hebrew word for ‘rescue,’” said Gregg. “Think of it as Uber, but for EMS, allowing us to crowdsource emergency responders. When an emergency occurs and 911 is called, nearby trained volunteers are alerted through an app on their phone, allowing them to respond quickly and stabilize the patient until an ambulance arrives.”
Gregg said that he believes that the United Hatzalah concept can be adapted to address the medical challenges facing rural Iowans, an idea he floated back in July, according to Des Moines’ CBS 8 (bit.ly/3iY1Kw8). Gregg met with United Hatzalah founder Eli Beer last summer and Beer recalled that he was extremely interested by the types of vehicles that United Hatzalah uses, as well as its technology that deploys the closest volunteers quickly and efficiently, noting that response times can lag not only in Iowa, but throughout the United States.
Beer said that he has reached out to Gregg since his inauguration speech to further discuss how to implement a working model that can save lives.
“If I had to compare parts of Israel to Iowa, it would be maybe the Golan Heights or the Negev and we have incredible response times there,” Beer told VIN News. “More people around the world die waiting for help than they do from disease and that is preventable. If millions of people around the world get trained to handle nearby emergencies, a lot more people would survive heart attacks, car accidents and strokes.”