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Simulation in Motion trucks arrive in Montana

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April 24, 2017

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

                Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391


Simulation in Motion trucks arrive in Montana

High-tech training trucks to bolster training opportunities for EMS, hospital staff in rural Montana


HELENA - Today, Governor Steve Bullock hosted an event outside the Capitol in Helena to showcase three mobile high-tech simulation training trucks that have been provided to the State of Montana through a $4.6 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The Simulation in Motion Montana grant brings life-saving tools and training via mobile simulation to emergency medical responders and rural hospitals across the state. The three identical trucks also include a suite of high-definition patient manikins used to simulate a wide range of medical emergencies.

“This is a terrific opportunity to increase the training opportunities for those who respond to medical emergencies every day,” Bullock said. “With access to these incredible trucks, the critical training our first responders need will come directly to them in their communities all over Montana. The Helmsley Charitable Trust has made yet another tremendous investment in our state, and it’s very much appreciated.”

The primary goal is to provide education and training to rural EMS services and hospitals for training on advanced trauma and cardiac life supports. However, the new equipment will also be available to other stakeholders such as universities, colleges, and others who have a need for simulation education. The grant pays for initial purchase of trucks, valued at $500,000 each, the $250,000 suite of manikins, and program operations for three years.

Walter Panzirer, a trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust, said he is excited to add a fourth state to the Simulation in Motion line-up. The program has been implemented in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska.

“This partnership is a terrific opportunity to improve the health and lives of Montanans,” Panzirer said. “Our rural emergency medical responders and rural hospitals face many obstacles to get this critical training. Now, the training will come to them, which is very important in rural Montana.”

Jim DeTienne, of the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems Section supervisor, said the grant will help address the challenges EMS services across the state face in accessing basic, advanced, neonatal, trauma, and cardiac life support training.

“Our emergency medical responders need these critical courses, but face many hurdles including cost, travel distance from their facility to the course, and inability to provide time off for staff to attend training,” said DeTienne.

The trucks encompass areas in the back compartment simulating an emergency room and the back of an ambulance. The patient simulation manikins are high-fidelity computerized training tools that talk, breath, have heartbeats, and can react to medications and other actions of the learners. They can live or die, and can be revived over and over again. 

Each mobile unit will be outfitted with the needed supplies to recreate an environment as close to reality as possible for the learner. Specially educated trainers will bring real life, on-site emergency training scenarios to rural health care providers to enhance training and recruit new personnel.

Simulation in Motion Montana will begin on-site training in rural communities in late spring, DeTienne said. Montana will contract with the North Dakota Simulation program to provide train-the-trainer training, mentoring, and leadership.

The Simulation in Motion Montana program complements two other existing Helmsley funding programs in Montana.

In January 2015, Montana received a $3.2 million gift from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to implement a three-year Cardiac Ready Communities initiative in Montana. The funding included the purchase of 222 automatic compression devices, called Physio-Control Lucas 2 Chest Compression Systems. Over the past year, DPHHS has been training Montana’s first responders and hospitals on the devices.

In March 2014, the American Heart Association announced a gift of $4.6 million from the Helmsley Charitable Trust to implement a three-year Mission: Lifeline initiative in Montana to improve cardiac STEMI care. 

EMS and Trauma Systems, DPHHS

The DPHHS EMS and Trauma Systems Section is the state's lead agency responsible for the development of a comprehensive emergency medical services program for Montanans. It is the vision of the Section that the development of comprehensive emergency medical, trauma and injury prevention programs is imperative to the well-being, health and safety of Montana citizens. As such, the section's overall mission is to reduce death and disability by providing leadership and coordination in the planning and development of a comprehensive, evidence-based emergency care system.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health and select place-based initiatives. Since 2008, Helmsley began active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1.8 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more over $300 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.