EMS medical director brings 30 years experience to role

Published 8:15 am Thursday, July 14, 2022

Dr. Joseph Holley Jr. of Collierville, Tennessee, was appointed as medical director to the city and county’s joint EMS response task force last week by the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors.

Holley, who specializes in Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medical Services with Baptist Memorial Hospital-Collierville, will be replacing Dr. Tom Fowlkes as medical director of the program. Holley is an alumnus of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine and has personal and professional connections to Oxford.

Lafayette County and the City of Oxford have collaborated with Baptist/Priority Ambulance on a to provide ambulance service to the area.

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With over 30 years of experience in the field, Holley said he can use his practical knowledge to help coordinate the efforts of local emergency responders.

“My goal is to make certain that we’re utilizing those services as efficiently as we can and that we’re providing high-quality care to all the citizens there,” said Holley. “Although the EMS and fire capabilities are quite robust, there’s still not very many of them and there’s a lot of territory to cover. Part of our challenge is trying to make certain that we are able to get close to where they need to be as quickly as we can and utilize whatever technologies we can with dispatch, but try to move those things along quickly.”

Holley has been working with Priority Ambulance, Lafayette County Fire Department and county EMS behind the scenes for weeks prior to his appointment to keep everything running smoothly.

“We’re beginning to get things in place so that they can order the equipment and medications that they may need, and setting up the sort of administrative side of things to help us get, you know, get things accomplished so I would say that things are underway,” he said. “I’ve just been moving it along ever since we started talking about it because it needed to get done.”

Holley was able to jumt in and begin working because he has worked with Priority Ambulance for many years and has previously worked with LCFD Assistant Chief of EMS Toby Lafayette through Lafayette’s work with helicopter service.

“Those two different converging stories sort of led to a conversation about me working with the first responder folks,” Holley said. “Since I already work with the EMS folks that are going to be responding with them, transporting patients just made for a good marriage to have.”

As medical director, the physician will be heavily involved in protocols for paramedics and EMT while advancing the system.

“I’m involved in the quality improvement process so I’m a resource for questions, concerns, comments, procedures, new medications and how we practice medicine in the field basically,” he said. “What I want to do is make certain that we integrate the first responder services into the bigger EMS picture so that we’re able to spread a fairly scarce resource.”

Holley said consistency among all parties will be the key to helping as many residents as possible.

“Part of what I do is coordination between all those different services so that our efforts are, one, not redundant and, two, are actually complementary with each other,” he said. “It’s just trying to make it a cohesive and joint effort between the fire department, first responders and EMS as well as the transport piece.”