National EMS Milestone
December 18, 2017
SYLVA and BRYSON CITY – Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital are pleased to announce that National Registered Paramedics (NRPs) Steve Rice, Eric Hester, and Tony Belcher have achieved 20 consecutive years of national certification through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. The NREMT notes that the distinction is “an honor held by few”. Harris Regional Hospital has partnered with Jackson County on emergency services since 1996.
Rice also works with Swain County Emergency Medical Services.
Hester also serves as the Emergency Medical Science program coordinator at Southwestern Community College, and Belcher is clinical coordinator for the same SCC program.
To maintain status as Nationally Registered Paramedics, Rice, Hester, and Belcher completed, on a biennial basis, the most comprehensive recertification program for EMS professionals in the United States, demonstrating a commitment to providing exceptional emergency care.
“It is a rare achievement that an EMT maintains 20 years of continual national registration. We can all celebrate and be proud of the commitments these individuals have made to saving lives in Jackson and Swain counties,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital.
Harris EMS has a total of seven ambulances stationed at three bases located throughout Jackson County on Old Settlement Road, on Hampton Road in the Qualla Community, and at the hospital. Harris EMS has a mutual aid agreement with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and tribal EMS to provide response in the Qualla community. Harris Regional Hospital is an accredited chest pain center through the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). The hospital opened a new emergency department last month.