Rock Hill hospital’s EMS director resigns

jzou@heraldonline.comJanuary 15, 2014 

Former Piedmont Medical Center EMS Director Steve Cotter at EMS headquarters in Rock Hill in October. Cotter resigned Tuesday.

ANDY BURRISS — aburriss@heraldonline.com Buy Photo

The director of emergency medical services at Piedmont Medical Center, whom York County officials credit with improving 911 dispatching of ambulances, has resigned to take a job with another EMS system.

Steve Cotter has led the EMS department at the Rock Hill hospital for close to four years.

Cotton Howell, director of York County’s Office of Emergency Management, said Cotter was instrumental in advancing the county’s 911 dispatch system during his tenure.

“Steve was a very capable person,” said Howell. “He brought technology into the EMS system that we have never seen before.”

That technology – called MARVLIS – helps take the guesswork out of dispatching by pinpointing ambulance locations, calculating drive times and using historical data to predict areas that might have a large volume of calls.

The county started using the computer software program just last year, but PMC has used it for several years.

“I was very skeptical at first,” Howell said of the new technology. “I’ve had to sort of eat my words.”

Cotter’s departure this week will not affect the day-to-day dispatching of ambulances, Howell said, and an interim director will be named shortly by hospital administrators.

Gary Loflin, York County’s director of public safety communications, called Cotter “forward thinking,” crediting him with placing PMC’s ambulances throughout the county instead of in designated stations, which he called a more “community-focused” approach.

Cotter declined to say where he was going to work next.

“This EMS system is far better than it was three and a half years ago,” he said. “This was an opportunity for me to continue my career.”

PMC spokeswoman Amy Faulkenberry said Cotter told administrators he had accepted a job that would provide him with experience working on a “multi-faceted ground and air transportation system.”

“We are grateful for the work that Mr. Cotter has done to elevate our program during his tenure here,” she said.

PMC, which handles more than 90 percent of the county’s 911 medical calls, wrapped up ambulance service contract negotiations with the county in December.

Under Cotter, the hospital recently entered into an agreement to coordinate response with the Fort Mill Rescue Squad, one of two volunteer ambulance providers in the county. Now, the Fort Mill squad reports to PMC’s EMS director for placement of ambulances and dispatching.

That cooperation is a departure from the providers’ relationship in years past, when ambulances raced to the same medical call to compete for patient transports.

Jie Jenny Zou •  803-329-4062

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