Community Paramedicine: Different Approaches, Positive Results
Community paramedicine is fast-becoming a popular initiative across the country and throughout the world. At the ImageTrend Connect 2015 Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, a panel discussion was presented: Community Paramedicine Real World Programs. Attendees learned and appreciated the insight of speakers Bryant Hernandez – East Baton Rouge EMS, Dr. Michael Gonzalez – Houston Fire Department, and Cory Kissling – Allina Health EMS, as they discussed their programs and answered questions from attendees.
Bryant Hernandez, East Baton Rouge EMS, has had a very positive reception to their Community Integrated Health Program (CIHP). The focus of the CIHP is to work with high utilizers of EMS and the ED. Their program collaborates and works closely with several entities, including the Baton Rouge General Family Medicine Residency Program through Tulane University. Residents, social worker interns and pharmacy students assist in a multitude of ways on home visits. The interest and response by the EMS providers to this program was high. Currently, the providers are rotating monthly for community paramedicine visits and EMS duties. Providing patient care is the highest priority, but East Baton Rouge EMS has benefitted from impressive cost savings too.
Cory Kissling, Allina Health EMS, represents a hospital-based system running a community paramedicine program focused on cost savings, rather than generating income. Through collaboration with several entities, including primary care physicians, Allina Health EMS has been able to focus on the continuation of care, especially in the mental health capacity. Allina recognizes the benefit experienced EMS personnel bring to community paramedicine programs, and often see it as a career advancement opportunity.
Dr. Michael Gonzalez, City of Houston Fire Department, had a very different story to tell. The Emergency Tele-Health and Navigation (ETHAN) Project works within the 911 response system to determine if a tele-medicine doctor consult would be better than an immediate transport to the ED. Based on the consult response, medics might transport patients to non-emergency facilities. There are no specific CP personnel as there are no scheduled visits, rather, all frontline EMS providers responding to 911 calls are involved in the ETHAN Project.
Although each program is drastically different, all share the common goal of providing better patient care while finding realistic cost savings. What is your community health story? Learn more at www.ImageTrend.com/CP.