Community Paramedicine Program
The collaborative Community Paramedicine program is an innovative healthcare delivery model that has created a unique partnership between Madison Fire Department paramedics and the Meriter emergency department.
The group works together to support area patients who are frequent, high-volume users of both the 911 system and the emergency department, often for health issues that can be better addressed proactively. A team that can include the Meriter emergency department, social work, care coordination, addiction medicine and others meets regularly to discuss all aspects of each patient's health.
Fire Department Paramedics then visit these patients in their homes and provide a comprehensive combination of medical, social and wellness visits. The goal is to help to empower patients to take control and ownership of their health and well-being, thus reducing their health crises.
The community paramedics further help patients connect with community resources, reduce barriers to meet their essential needs, and be able to successfully access their existing primary medical care. All along the way, patients know that the safety net of the Fire Department and Emergency Department are always available, however are now of a much lesser need.
This program, which kicked off in April 2016, has been immensely successful. Patients have drastically reduced their calls to 911, visits to the emergency department and hospital admissions by having more control over their own health. Beyond the data, patients have benefited from the social aspects of the program becoming more active in the community, be it taking the bus, going for walks or visiting local food pantries.
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Wisconsin State Journal