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Fla. Paramedic Honored by Department of Health

Aug. 8—Debbie Vass, director of quality initiatives at Sunstar Paramedics and parent company PatientCare, was honored with an Excellence in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Award from the Florida Department of Health. Vass received the Larry S. Jordan EMS Hall of Fame Award, which honors an individual for lifetime achievement in the field of EMS.

As the director of quality initiatives, Vass oversees strategic planning and deployment, accreditation initiatives, and focuses on ensuring high-quality patient care throughout all levels of the organization.

As part of her strategic planning, Vass is leading an innovative initiative that involves evaluating and incorporating EMS performance measures in relation to patient outcomes, which aims to promote the EMS and pre-hospital profession. As part of this initiative, she spearheaded company-wide patient engagement and satisfaction surveys. It highlights the EMS experience from the patient’s perspective, while ensuring high-quality clinical performance is upheld.

“We’re very proud that Debbie was recognized by the Florida Department of Health for her dedication to the EMS industry and to continuously improving patient care,” said Mark Postma, vice president of PatientCare. “She’s worked hard to further the EMS profession, and she’s very deserving of this prestigious award.”

Vass joined Sunstar Paramedics as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in 1986 and she has worked as a paramedic, registered nurse, director of clinical services, and chief administrative officer. She was promoted to director of quality initiatives for PatientCare, which operates Sunstar Paramedics and runs operations in four markets nationwide, in 2015.

In addition to her work at Sunstar Paramedics, Vass has been involved with several EMS organizations. She’s the president of the Florida EMS Quality Managers Group, she’s a member of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), and she’s currently a master examiner for the Florida Governor Sterling Council and serves on the council’s examination committee.

“Debbie has devoted a significant part of her life to advancing prehospital emergency care, and she’s worked hard to change the manner in which we care for patients,” John Peterson, chief operating officer of Sunstar Paramedics. “Her commitment to EMS excellence continues every day through her quality initiatives that directly impact the communities we serve.”

The awards ceremony was held on July 11 at the Caribe Royale hotel in Orlando during the annual Clinical Conference on Emergency Medical Services (ClinCon), which focuses on the education of emergency providers and EMS personnel.

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