Community Paramedicine Pilot Projects Address Gaps, Reduce Costs of Emergency Medicine

From UK Healthcare:

One option to reduce costly hospital readmissions is to extend a paramedic’s role beyond a patient’s hospital discharge so that paramedics can loop back and check in on patients, make sure they are following their post-discharge instructions, look for signs that a patient needs more medical attention (for example, a fever that might suggest infection) and identify hazards at home that might land patients back in the hospital (such as trip hazards for patients who use walkers).

“If we can catch issues before they become emergencies, we help keep the patient safely at home, reduce post-discharge complications, ease the pressure on EMS and hospital resources, and lower costs all around,” said Lubbers.

Unnecessary emergency room visits are also a significant driver of costs, so finding ways to divert super-utilizers to the appropriate level of care can reduce financial burden.  Minnesota’s CP/MIH program identifies super-utilizers and converts them to a managed care approach that addresses medical, social and behavioral needs. For example, a quick check of a diabetic patient’s refrigerator might tip a visiting community paramedic off to poor nutrition, which then precipitates an appointment with a nutritionist or social services. Through the program, Minnesota has seen ER use by super-utilizers decrease by 60 to 70 percent.

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