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Chicago FD community paramedicine partnership sees successes

Organizers have seen a decrease in unplanned emergency department, hospital visits in the first year

By Bill Carey

CHICAGO — The non-profit organization Medical Home Network is one year into an innovative community paramedicine partnership with the Chicago Fire Department.

The partnership is showing successful initial results in its work, CBS Chicago reported.

One of the initial indicators of success is a decrease in unplanned hospital and emergency room visits among participants in the program. They attribute this achievement to visits by community paramedics from the Chicago Fire Department.

“What we found is that our paramedics had a lot of desire, but not a lot of resources to connect individuals,” District Chief Jonathan Zaentz said. “MHN had a lot of resources, but a lot of difficulty sometimes connecting and reaching out to individuals to put those two things together.”

The Medical Home Network acts as the bridge connecting Chicago Fire Department community paramedics with partner practices such as Chicago Family Health Center, Sinai Medical Group, and Friend Health.

“We look for patients who are not engaged, and they have chronic diseases such as hypertension, COPD, diabetes, and they’re not being managed properly,” said Friend Health Director of Care Coordination Tracey Robinson.

A team of eight full-time Chicago Fire Department paramedics is dedicated to this work, assisting patients with various needs, which include arranging transportation, providing nutritional support, installing functional fire alarms and supplying equipment such as scales and glucometers.