In the spring of 2014 a coalition of stakeholders was called to meet in the Portland, Oregon area to discuss healthcare transformation and specifically the role of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in that transformation. The gathering was attended by approximately 150 representatives from local healthcare systems, payers, policy makers, EMS system administration and representation from healthcare providers themselves. From this coalition two subcommittees emerged and were tasked to explore two subjects for EMS transformation: a nurse triage line within local dispatch centers to divert low-acuity callers away from the EMS system, and the use of mobile-integrated healthcare programs, also known as community paramedicine (CP) to meet specific community needs in the out-of-hospital arena. The former group was suspended winter 2015 as the local dispatch system was unable to accommodate nurse triage protocols. The latter group has met regularly to address implementation strategies for community paramedic (CP) programs in the region.
CP is an expansion in the role that EMS plays in the local community beyond just 911 response and transport. The benefit to this expanded role impacts patients, local EMS and healthcare systems as programs are designed to meet identified gaps in healthcare delivery including prevention strategies to improve population health, address high emergency department utilization and decrease overall cost of healthcare delivery. This project proposal focuses on the first phase of CP program development, writing the regulatory rules and statutes to authorize CP program development for Washington County, Oregon. This first phase will take approximately 2 years to complete after which, phase 2, the build-out of CP system design will take place.
There are no budgetary constraints to keep the project from moving forward as it relies solely on existing FTE to attend to the writing and filing process. The project will be completed under the oversight of the Washington County Public Health Division’s EMS Program Supervisor as CP meets the mission and vision of the Public Health Division. Final documents will be completed within 24 months of start.
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