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NC EMS chief wants to keep us out of the ER


For Immediate Release
June 24, 2013

RALEIGH - Regina Godette-Crawford had a newly minted business degree when she got a job inspecting ambulances in 1985.

She didn't expect to spend much time in the world of emergency medical services.

"I thought of it as stepping stone," Godette-Crawford says. "I told people, 'I'm not going to stay here.' "

Three decades later, the Craven County native has risen through the ranks to the post of chief of the N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Services, overseeing nearly 40,000 men and women who respond to about 1 million medical emergencies across the state every year.

Godette-Crawford, 50, has aided the office's transformation from a loosely aligned collection of largely volunteer groups into a highly trained force of which roughly 70 percent are professionals.

And now, she's leading the state's paramedics in another major movement, toward a focus on preventative care that will keep more patients out of emergency rooms, saving time and money at a time when many uninsured citizens rely on emergency care.


Since taking over as chief, she has sought out new methods and ideas, from using vending machines to replace equipment quickly to creating local teams to evacuate hospitals in an emergency.

One ongoing initiative is a program to treat EMS workers with substance abuse problems - an issue that often crops up when they become addicted to pain medication after work-related injuries.

"It can happen to anybody," Godette-Crawford says. "We saw this as an opportunity to return them to the workforce as quickly as possible."

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