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Global Medical Response and Covenant Health announce first graduates of community paramedic program


Abby Williamson, community paramedic in East Tennessee, takes vital signs during a home visit as part of Covenant Health’s new initiative, Advanced Care at Home. Through this program, community paramedics from Global Medical Response can provide high-acuity medical services for patients in their homes (such as X-rays, ultrasounds, catheters, IVs and more). Recently,12 EMS professionals became certified as community paramedics.

Photo via GMR

Earn While You Learn” Academy Prepares Community Paramedics to Staff Covenant Health’s Advanced Care at Home Program

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Global Medical Response (GMR) and Covenant Health are pleased to announce a new workforce supporting Covenant Health’s new Advanced Care at Home program, which brings hospital-level care to patients in the comfort of their homes.

Twelve individuals recently earned community paramedic certifications from GMR’s “Earn While You Learn” Academy, which was developed specifically to staff the new Covenant Health program.

EMS professionals with advanced training as community paramedics are the primary liaisons for daily in-person visits to patients. The Advanced Care at Home program also includes other healthcare professionals, 24-hour monitoring from health system clinicians and routine telemedicine appointments with physicians.

Individuals need at least five years of paramedic experience to qualify for the community paramedic program, but many have 15+ years of experience. To be certified, they complete a standardized educational program (approved by the State EMS Board) to deliver services beyond traditional emergency care and transport, including working in conjunction with medical direction. Community paramedics also receive training in areas such as primary care, public health, disease management, prevention/wellness, mental health and oral health.

“Covenant Health is proud to launch our Advanced Care at Home initiative in collaboration with Global Medical Response,” said Mandy Halford, MD, senior vice president and chief medical informatics officer for Covenant Health. “We’re pleased to see successful graduates of the Knoxville area’s first community paramedic program, which is one of only four programs currently available in Tennessee. These dedicated professionals are prepared to provide the best possible care for our patients.”

“We’re incredibly proud of our first class of graduates,” said Gregory Spurlock, vice president of healthcare operations for GMR. “For our inaugural academy, we had a 100 percent pass rate on the national exam, given by the International Board of Specialty Certification. The average first time pass rate is only 58 percent, so having a full class achieve certification is a huge accomplishment.”

“Each student participated in a six-week, full-time program with lectures, practical hours and clinical rotations at Covenant Health,” he said. “These paramedics are now ready to take care of hospital patients at home.”

The “Earn While You Learn” program was developed by GMR’s medical ground transportation company, American Medical Response, to ease financial transitions for those wanting to become EMS professionals. The program provides paid on-the-job training while participants become certified as EMTs or paramedics. Following successful program completion, participants have the opportunity to become full-time employees.