Stepping in before the ambulance is called: Community paramedics help avert crises

From the State Journal:

Instead of responding to emergencies, the normal job of a paramedic, community paramedics try to prevent them. By helping patients improve their health, the workers can reduce avoidable medical costs, health care administrators say.

At Meriter, community paramedics employed by the Madison Fire Department make weekly visits to the homes of patients who have a history of unnecessary 911 calls, emergency room visits and hospital stays.

The visits are part medical check-up, part social work appointment and part therapy session. The community paramedics connect patients to job services, food pantries and other supports while listening to their hearts, not so much with stethoscopes as with compassionate ears.

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