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Innovative EMS treatment program for high-risk TB patients awarded

AMR Ventura County receives award from American Ambulance Association for a community paramedicine initiative


Supervisor Jeff Shultz of Gold Coast Ambulance brings medication to a tuberculosis patient in her Oxnard, Calif. home. Paramedics check each patient’s symptoms and make sure they take their medication each day.

Photo by Maya Sugarman/KPCC

MOORPARK, Calif. — AMR Ventura County was recognized for the development and implementation of a program to treat patients with high-risk tuberculosis (TB) by the American Ambulance Association (AAA).

The 2015 “Best Community Impact Program” AMBY Award is an honor that recognizes the best practices in the ambulance industry.

The project, in collaboration with the Ventura County Tuberculosis Clinic, is designed to improve the care of patients with TB who are geographically distant from care clinics and require time-specific medications and monitoring.

“TB is a difficult infectious disease to cure. The treatment protocol requires precise timing for medication intake and close monitoring during treatment,” said Mike Taigman, general manager, AMR and Gold Coast, Ventura. “By using mobile paramedics to dispense medications and monitor patients that would otherwise not be able to get treatment, we are saving lives and improving the health of our community.

During the course of the program, AMR and Gold Cost Paramedics helped 35 patients with TB complete their entire course of treatment, reduced the cost of medications and minimized medication side effects. In addition, the partnership enabled the clinic to realize additional savings in overtime and other clinic expenses.

The AMBYs highlight excellence in the EMS profession, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. The mission of the awards is to showcase creativity and innovation in the EMS industry.

Supervisor Jeff Shultz of Gold Coast Ambulance brings medication to a tuberculosis patient in Oxnard, Calif. The visit is part of a pilot project in Ventura County using paramedics to make house calls to tuberculosis patients instead of county public health staffers. (Photo by Maya Sugarman/KPCC)

“The innovative practices of AAA members are quite amazing,” said Ron Thackery, co-chair of the Professional Standards Committee that judged the entries. “Submissions included many ideas that can be easily implemented by other EMS agencies. Most importantly, these innovations improve health care.”