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Home > Topics > Community Paramedicine
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The Question
by EMS1 Community

Will community paramedicine help or hurt EMS?

See what EMS1 readers think, and add your own response to the comments.

Community paramedicine and mobile health care initiatives are growing across EMS. Many agencies are have implemented programs, and many others are considering how to best make a program work in their community.

While models vary depending on need and other factors, there’s no doubt that the concept itself changes the role and expectations of EMS workers. We asked our readers if they thought these programs would help or hurt the EMS profession, and why.

“I think it will help. The elderly come home from hospitals and have a bag of meds that they have no idea how or when to take. Public health is an integral part of our job.” — Carylyn Healey McEntee


“Hurt, we are overworked by abuse as it is.” — Brian Duvall


“It is supposed to help, as it targets those who may need help, but not emergent care. The programs I've read about that have been implemented have had success so far. I like the patient education part as well. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” — Robert Michael Lassiter Jr.


“I understand it as part of the job. We're supposed to advocate for our patients, and educate the communities we work in. However, knowing how the system works and how people run things, I can see this turning into ‘busy work;’ when you're not on a job, this is what you should be doing. That could lead to burn out and frustration real fast. But to be fair, I come from a busy area in N.J., and have worked for some companies that have some real issues with management and resource allocation.” — Chris Radzion

“Only if we get paid more.” — Nick Schoendorf


“I think it would help. It would cut back on the amount of non-emergency calls. It would also give an opportunity for more jobs to be created ...” — Bianca LaShay

“CP shows tremendous promise; good use of resources and good patient outcomes. I'm concerned for our industry on how we get paid for these awesome (and cost effective) services. I'm a reimbursement specialist, so worrying about how you get paid is my job. Minnesota is on a good path with their Medicaid-recognized CP that pays for the service. Facilities and third party payers need to pay attention to this movement. CP will save them money too, but the EMS community must get paid for what it's doing. This part of CP is still evolving.” — Maggie Adams

“Good for EMS ... it expands our capabilities. Great for ERs as it reduces the influx of unnecessary visits and can keep rooms open for patients who actually need emergent care.” Jason Berrie

About the author

"The Question" section brings together user-generated articles from our Facebook page based on questions we pose to our followers, as well as some of the best content we find on Quora, a question-and-answer website created, edited and organized by its community of users who are often experts in their field. The site aggregates questions and answers for a range of topics, including public safety. The questions and answers featured here on EMS1 are posted directly from Quora, and the views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of EMS1.
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Samuel Gates Samuel Gates Friday, April 25, 2014 2:00:42 AM It has the potential to bring the profession into the future and help it gain the respect it deserves. That is if: - other healthcare professionals realize that we are not just ambulance drivers. That we enter and care for people in the environment that they often do not see, their home. -that EMS does not entrench itself in the attitude of "I'm here to save lives, not to be the VNA", sound familiar? - compensate providers for the training they will need, and give them challenging and comprehensive education, not another group hug, pretty certificate program. Oh, did I forget the merit badge, sorry I mean the patch or pin. - the funding to start and enhance the programs as we see what works and what needs to change. Two of the most frustrating times in my career were when programs I was working on (an asthma reduction program with outstanding results and a fall prevention program with great promise) either stopped being funded or could not ongoing funding even though the cost of funding would be a small fraction of the money that would be saved. - that the agencies that provide these programs be adequately funded to give them a chance to work. - to develop a standard of care and a scope of practice that truly makes a difference. - that this additional responsibility is not added to the daily responsibilities of EMS. Trying to fit patient visits in between 911 calls and other responsibilities will doom that process to failure. You can not be in 2 places at once with 3 things on your mind. - finally fundamental changes in the mindset of how we provide healthcare must occur. That it is truly a team sport. That each player on the team has to coordinate and cooperate with the other players. The player must not have to compete with each other for the dollars. Competition is great, but when it pits players on the same team against each other it create an ineffective and inefficient process, eliminating or reducing the savings and failing to provide the greatest level of care for the patient. These can be exciting and challenging time for EMS. Full of the promise of truly "making a difference" for our patients or another, costly exercise in what could be that results in frustration for the providers and provides nothing for the patient. As always be safe out there and keep the faith.
Rescuing Providence Rescuing Providence Friday, April 25, 2014 10:26:03 AM Neither...Community Paramedicine is not EMS. It's visiting nursing. Or Visiting Medics, whichever, different things altogether.
Donald Vick Donald Vick Friday, April 25, 2014 3:28:59 PM I agree, I would like to have a better understanding of who is pushing this stuff.
Patrick Nance Patrick Nance Saturday, April 26, 2014 12:08:42 PM I am strongly opposed to this and the data in California is showing resistance from EMS providers, responders and nurses associations. When I first read of this, I thought "Will this strip resources from 911? Will providers open a new separate branch dedicated to doing CP and leave 911 response intact? Will nurses be open to Paramedics to what they perceive as yet another encroachment into their jobs? Will Paramedics be making more money as a result? What will this do to already overworked Paramedics if we make them work all day doing house calls and then up all night running calls?" All of these questions are valid and some of them have answers already. CP is a great idea but it is not "EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES". Hire home healthcare nurses and stop making us do stuff we are not 1) trained to do and b) necessarily want to do. If I wanted to do home healthcare, I would go into nursing... just me but after 26 years in EMS as a medic, I really am not interested in someone paying less and making more by making me do the work they have previously delegated to home health care nurses. Let me do EMS, please... it's not like fire services where we are doing building inspections and flushing hydrants in our down time. More and more areas thanks to system status management and posting are making Medics and EMTs keeping hours like 40 of 48 on the street and with little sleep. SSM made the providers already comfortable with doing more with less... this just seems to make the problem worse...
Myke Schulz Myke Schulz Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:33:55 AM Help, but the proper higher education needs to be in place. How in the world is a technician with 1 year of vocational training suppose to properly accomplish a task like this? Its imperative that medics obtain a degree with a solid foundation in coursework relevant to this new task. Although the framework is in place for this, at the moment everything is :willy nilly: so to speak, and every tom dick and hairy is trying to cash on this, creating rogue entities with only "merit badge" CME courses given to providers before releasing them to fill this role.
David Boyd David Boyd Friday, May 02, 2014 1:15:41 PM While I personally feel that programs like this could benefit the EMS community, especially in rural areas. I feel the Paramedics as we know it should be phased out. I feel that EMS should phase into a system staffed by prehospital RNs. This would increase the salary of providers, and allow for personnel to switch to another nursing specially area, if the need arises as it does so often. There would be no need to return to school for another degree. (Unless you were advancing to BSN or MSN,) Programs as they are being set up now, I don t feel will benefit the field staff in anyway, just more work, most likely limited if any pay increase, and no real value of the additional education they will have to take, should they decide to return to college.

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