Bonner County Emergency Medical Service’s new Community Paramedic Program will provide patient education and routine primary monitoring to post discharge patients, while following care plans established by the Medical Directors who will refer patients to this program. These Medical Directors are Dr. Ronald Jenkins, M.D. with Heart Clinics Northwest and Dr. Scott Dunn, M.D. with Family Health Center. Each of these physicians are located in Sandpoint.
This program seeks to further expand upon the already diverse role of today’s paramedic, but to do so in such a manner as to help prevent the ‘Emergency’ altogether. With additional higher education focusing on primary care and community integration, the goal is to bring these expanded skills and knowledge into patient’s homes, where paramedics have been working since day one. This enhanced patient monitoring will have the added impact of further decreasing morbidity and mortality, thereby significantly reducing healthcare costs long term, increasing patient satisfaction and improving overall community health.
The primary beneficiaries of the Community Paramedic Program would be recently released hospital patients who have suffered heart problems, or other complex medical problems. During the weekly home visits, the paramedics would be available to provide medication checks, including proper glucose testing for Diabetic patients, blood pressure checks, safety assessments (i.e., trip and fall hazards) and follow-up EKG’s.
The Community Paramedic will be tasked with:
- Working with patients that cannot be seen by other outside agency partners, specifically patients that are ineligible for Home Health Services.
- Deliver services to patients that do not need long term follow-up care.
- Deliver care that is patient focused.
- Deliver the most appropriate care in the most appropriate place and/or ensure that the patient is referred to the most appropriate health and social care professional. The Paramedics will not provide unnecessary transport.
- Provide appropriate healthcare advice and preventative services to their patients.
- Encourage patients to take responsibility for managing their own care and treatment where safe and appropriate to do so.
- Assess current gaps in service for patients.
- Utilize programs by the community to promote health and wellness to improve the overall health of the residents of Bonner County.
- Provide referrals to community resources (e.g., mental health, substance abuse, public health, social services).
- Provide referral services for individuals who cannot afford their medications.
- Manage patients/clients experiencing a transitional medical condition (e.g., postoperative care, hospital discharge, home health discharge, or rehabilitation).