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March 2015 Excerpt

 

Paramedics assess and assist patients every day.
Are they part of your community's care transition coalition?

If your community hasn't yet engaged emergency medical service (EMS) providers in your efforts to improve care transitions and reduce avoidable rehospitalizations, you may be overlooking an important ally.

Paramedics can provide perspective on both the health and living conditions of patients. In addition, they may be the most accessible element of the healthcare system for underserved populations. Benefit from paramedics' experience by including them in your coalition work!

New operational models

In communities across the country, the paramedics' role is beginning to expand to provide preventive care to high-risk patients, post-discharge monitoring, and coordination with/referral to the community's other social and medical services. For an overview of these activities, the types of measurements used to monitor success, and a discussion of the challenges to be overcome, see the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians's 2014 policy brief.

We also encourage you to contact local resources. In Idaho and Washington, we are aware of the following EMS providers that have adopted programs related to prevention and care coordination.

Idaho

  • Bonner County Emergency Medical Services
  • Ada County Paramedics (Qualis Health wrote about their work in 2013)
  • Moscow Volunteer Fire Department

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has formed a committee to explore and gather information about this topic.

Washington

  • Fire Department CARES program members
  • Grays Harbor Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Care Council
  • Pierce County Fire Districts and Rainier Health Network
  • Prosser Public Hospital District EMS
  • Snohomish County Fire District 1

In addition, the newly formed Washington State Community Paramedic/Mobile Integrated Healthcare Practices Workgroup has begun holding monthly meetings and hosted its first conference in November 2014.