By Lindsay Doty
Hendricks Regional Health (HRH) has teamed up with local emergency medical services (EMS) agencies to launch the HRH Community Paramedicine Program.
The program aims to break the ambulance-hospital service cycle in non-emergency situations. It allows a team consisting of a paramedic and a social worker to respond and give patients care in their homes, reducing the need on 911 for non-emergent concerns.
“Our culture is built on a vision — not just to be the community’s indispensable healthcare partner, but also to provide critical programs and services where and when needed,” HRH President & CEO, Kevin Speer, said. “The Community Paramedicine Program marks a new chapter in how we collectively deliver health care and support the needs of our community.”
Plainfield Fire Chief Joel Thacker suggested the idea to Speer at a “Chill and Grill” EMS appreciation event. Their vision was to reduce non-emergent uses of the Hendricks County emergency 911 system while more easily connecting individuals to the assistance they need.
According to Hendricks Regional Health, in Hendricks County, approximately 50 percent of EMS calls are for non-emergency needs. That comes out to around $1.2 million a year in care and services delivered by EMS and emergency departments.
“Our crews are always ready to respond to 911 calls, but in many cases, units arrive on-scene to find patients aren’t actually experiencing an emergency,” explained Plainfield Fire Chief, Joel Thacker. “Through this innovative community paramedicine program, EMS agencies will be able to conserve resources for true emergencies.”
HRH has pledged a five-year fund of more than $2.5 million for the project, making it one of Central Indiana’s only hospital-funded paramedicine programs. Hospital leaders hope to connect with 800 patients in the first year.
Patients will be referred to the community paramedicine program by Hendricks County fire departments and EMS agencies.
“We may go out to a house five or six times — whatever it takes to empower that patient to navigate the healthcare system in a way that’s more suitable to their needs,” Dustin Holland, MD, MPH, medical director of Community Paramedicine and deputy medical director for EMS, HRH, said. “This is what our community needs – hands-on support to not only fix medical issues in the moment but solve them long term.”