When Tennessee trauma surgeon Kimball I. Maull takes over Feb. 10 as the head of Maryland's statewide emergency medical services, he will find himself operating a system shocked and traumatized by state budget cutbacks.
In all, by next July, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System budget for statewide services in the field will have been slashed from $6.8 million to $2.7 million, MIEMSS spokeswoman Rochelle Cohen said.
Meanwhile, the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore has lost $1.2 million in state budget allocations and anticipated Medicaid reimbursements.
Maull, chairman of the surgery department at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, was named yesterday to succeed Dr. James P.G. Flynn, who agreed in March 1990 to serve for just two years as director of both MIEMSS and the Shock-Trauma Center.
Maull, 49, won the $233,000 position after a nationwide search by a committee established by the University of Maryland Medical System and the University of Maryland at Baltimore.
The first wave of budget cuts this fall affecting the MIEMSS network closed two Med-Evac helicopter bases in Montgomery County and in Centreville on the Eastern Shore.
After a public outcry, those bases were later reopened, but remaining cuts in overtime have meant that if crew members anywhere in the state call in sick, their helicopter won't fly during their shift, Cohen said.
Also, virtually all training, licensing, certification and standardized testing for emergency medical system personnel statewide are expected to end this year if the cuts are not restored. Five regional MIEMSS offices also will be closed and communications gear will not be replaced as it fails.
Maull said yesterday he was "deeply honored" by the appointment. He described his new post as "a tremendous responsibility . . . almost more than any individual by himself can do."
To preserve the system "as we know it" in the face of budget pressures, he said, "we will need to look at all we are doing, and perhaps reprioritize." But he said he would need "more time to be more specific."
As director of the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services System, he will head a statewide system of nearly 50 hospitals, 489 ambulances, a fleet of State Police Med-Evac helicopters, more than 24,000 certified emergency medical-care providers, and the communications and training systems that tie them all together.
The Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore is the core of the MIEMSS system and receives the state's most critically injured patients. It is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in trauma care. Of the 3,900 patients admitted to Shock-Trauma in the past year, 92 percent survived.
As director of MIEMSS and Shock-Trauma, Maull will have two masters as he oversees a budget of nearly $60 million. MIEMSS is a part of the University of Maryland at Baltimore, while Shock-Trauma is administered under the University of Maryland Medical System, a private corporation.
Maull's state salary is split evenly between the two entities. In addition, UMAB President Errol L. Reese said Maull is permitted to, and will, practice trauma surgery privately at Shock-Trauma.
Maull received his bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia and his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. He received his surgical training at Duke University and the University of Kentucky.
After serving as an assistant professor of surgery and attending surgeon at the University of Kentucky from 1974 to 1976, Maull moved to similar positions at the University of Virginia in Richmond. In 1981, he was named director of the Center for Trauma and Emergency Medicine in Richmond.
While there, he became the first to integrate a basic emergency medical technician course into a U.S. medical school curriculum. He also established and directed Richmond's first paramedic training program.
In 1983, Maull was named chairman of surgery at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, taking over a 600-bed hospital and surgical program that had lost its accreditation.
In two years, the UT surgical program had regained its accreditation. In 1988, the UT Medical Center became the first combined pediatric and adult trauma center in the nation.