The Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) Program

Quality and Performance Improvement

Emergency Department Quality Improvement

Clint MacKinney, M.D. is an emergency room physician at St. Gabriels in Little Falls. As a senior consultant at Stroudwater Associates, helping rural hospitals improve Emergency Department performance, Dr. MacKinney produced the following series of Rural Emergency Department Performance Improvement briefs:

Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) Program

The Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) Program is an educational program designed specifically for rural health providers with limited resources. The CALS Program teaches participants to anticipate, recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies. Using the CALS Universal Approach, participants develop team skills as they work through a variety of real life scenarios.

Since 1996, over 5,000 health care providers in 80 rural Minnesota communities have taken the course. The program has been credited for improving emergency health care delivery and even saving lives of countless patients in rural communities.

The CALS program has received Flex Grant Funding from the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care to help Critical Access Hospitals obtain Comprehensive Advanced Life Support Course (CALS) education. These funds subsidize:

  • The registration fees for the CALS Provider Course
  • The registration fees for the CALS Benchmark Lab.

Individuals employed by or working in a Minnesota Critical Access Hospital will be credited with this subsidy at the time of registration for either the CALS Provider Course or the CALS Benchmark Lab. Funds will be awarded based on the provider eligibility and completion of the benchmark lab and/or the CALS Course up to the point that the funds are exhausted.

To register for a course or sponsor a course at your facility: contact Chris Melchior at 612-624-7123 or email
To register for a CALS Benchmark Lab: contact Paula Chambers at Hennepin County Medical Center at 800-346-4262 or 612-873-8712.

More information is on the CALS Program website or contact Kari Lappe at 612-624-5901 or

CALS - Central Minnesota Site Visit 2003 (PDF: 205KB/4 pages) summarizes a Critical Access Hospital site visit. The purpose of the site visit was to obtain information about the impact of CALS training on practice patterns and training requirements and, to the extent possible, health care outcomes.

Contact for more information

Judy Bergh

Updated Monday, February 28, 2011 at 09:47AM