Minor takes reins at BREMSS

Michael Minor takes the helm of BREMSS, the coordinating agency for emergency medical response in central Alabama, following the retirement of Joe Acker.

michael minor streamMichael MinorMichael Minor has been named executive director for the Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services System, or BREMSS, replacing the retiring Joe Acker. Minor, trained as a paramedic, has been associated with BREMSS since 1993.

BREMSS, housed on the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus, is a multijurisdictional agency that coordinates and improves prehospital medical emergency response by facilitating education and communication with emergency medical service agencies, 911 centers and hospitals. BREMSS is designated as the regional EMS agency and is partly funded by the Alabama Department of Public Health, Office of EMS.

BREMSS also operates the Alabama Trauma Communications Center, which processes information from 911 centers and paramedics to route trauma, stroke and STEMI (cardiac) patients to the most appropriate hospital that provides the best chance of survival.

The agency works with all components of the Emergency Medical Services System, which includes more than 200 emergency medical services organizations, 15 hospitals, more than 2,500 EMSPs, nine trauma centers, 15 stroke centers, eight STEMI hospitals, more than 80 different municipalities and many different 911 agencies.

“I’m honored and challenged to replace a visionary and leader like Joe Acker, who led BREMSS since 1990 and was instrumental to the growth and success of the agency,” Minor said. “Moving forward, we will continue with the initiatives already in place and expand our mission to lead in the development and implementation of a system that delivers patient care at the highest level, to educate the community about emergency medical care, and to continue the education of health care personnel in the newest lifesaving knowledge, techniques and skills.”

Minor credits Acker with driving the concept of highly coordinated emergency care in Alabama — getting the right patient to the right hospital in the appropriate time frame. Locally, BREMSS developed protocols for stroke, trauma and STEMI response. The concept is now used statewide in stroke and trauma care, and a statewide STEMI system will launch next year.

“The statewide systems are all based on knowledge gained from the experiences at BREMSS over the past 30 years,” Minor said.

Among the initiatives Minor intends to expand is an effort to provide EMS prevention education to the public.

“We call it prevention through intervention or PTI,” Minor said. “Various EMS agencies have paramedics assigned to community education, so that they can reach out to those households where we get multiple calls, due to either chronic disease, limited resources or engagement in risky behaviors that lead to medical emergencies. The goal is to find strategies to help keep those residents safe and minimize the need for emergency medical services.”

The original BREMSS system was initiated by the hospitals across a six-county region of central Alabama, consisting of Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties, in 1973. Winston County was recently added, making BREMSS a seven-county regional EMS system. 

BREMSS features a communications center that is staffed around the clock with paramedics. The TCC links all acute care hospitals in the system and communicates with paramedics in the field, so that acutely ill and injured patients can be routed to the most appropriate facility. The on-duty staff has increased from one paramedic per shift to three paramedics on duty at all times since going statewide.