(March 11, 2019) – Life EMS Ambulance today announced the achievement of its 26th-consecutive year of being fully accredited, one of only a handful of emergency medical service organizations in the country to attain this distinction for this unprecedented length of time.  This achievement includes newly accrediting its Oceana County Operation that began in October of 2018, bringing to 10 the number of counties served by Life EMS.


The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) Panel of Commissioners, the governing board which bestows such distinctions, noted that its recent onsite review of Life EMS Ambulance’s CAAS accreditation requirements resulted in a “perfect score,” meaning zero deficiencies.  


“Life EMS Ambulance is truly a model EMS operation deeply committed to excellence throughout its entire organization, from top to bottom, and location to location, with an exemplary commitment to exceeding standards in all categories, year after year,” explained Marcie W. McGlynn, Accreditation Process Administrator, CAAS.


The Life EMS Ambulance operations in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo were two of the first seventeen ambulance operations from across the country, and the first in West Michigan, to become fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) in 1993.   Accreditations extend for three years and signify an organization has met the “gold standard” in a modern emergency medical services provider. According to CAAS, these standards often exceed those established by state or local regulation and are designed to increase operational efficiency and clinical quality, while decreasing risk and liability to the organization.


A CAAS accreditation team visited Life EMS Ambulance’s operations in January 2019.  They assessed approximately 50 areas of its operations, including general management policies and practices to associate training and development, clinical standards, equipment and facilities and more.


“Our accreditation truly underscores the efforts of our entire team’s dedication to excellence,” explained Mark Meijer, president and founder of Life EMS Ambulance.  “We take our mission to heart; to best serve our neighbors needing medical help with ‘skill and compassion when they need it most.’  This requires organization-wide, ongoing focus and commitment.  The CAAS accreditation is a strong symbol of our pledge to service excellence, delivered by the men and women from our 10-county service area, from billing to patient care, to fleet readiness to IT and everything in between, that brings this all together.”


About Life EMS Ambulance: Founded in 1980, Life EMS Ambulance has consistently increased its quality and capabilities while providing compassionate emergency care. Life EMS Ambulance was the first ambulance service in West Michigan, and among the first in the country to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, the gold standard in the EMS industry. Life EMS Ambulance responds to medical emergencies throughout 4,200 square miles of West Michigan, including Grand Rapids/Kent, Portage/Kalamazoo, Ottawa, Ionia, Newaygo, Lake, Mason, Oceana, Allegan, and Van Buren counties. The company has also earned consecutive distinctions as “West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.” 


About CAAS: In March 1982, the American Ambulance Association (AAA) sponsored a Needs Assessment Workshop in Kansas City, Missouri, to analyze the status of the EMS industry. The participants compiled a list of the twenty most pressing issues facing emergency medical services, the first of which was the need for high-quality industry standards. In May 1984, the AAA Board of Directors authorized the formation of its Ad Hoc Committee on Accreditation and Standards. The standards that grew out of this committee’s work were consensus-based–with input from professionals across the EMS industry. The development of the process by which an agency could become certified to these standards followed.


In 1990, an independent Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) was incorporated, bringing together a board of representatives from the American Ambulance Association, the Emergency Nurses Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, the National Association of EMS Physicians, and the National Association of State EMS Directors. In 1993, the first agencies were accredited by the Commission.


Currently, there are more than 180 CAAS-accredited agencies in 39 U.S. states, Canada and the West Indies, with more than 200 agencies working on new applications