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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ohio adopts community paramedicine legislation; August seminar highlights opportunities for communities

Update July 14, 2015

Under new legislation passed with Ohio's Biennium Budget earlier this month, local fire and EMS departments are now permitted to practice community paramedicine. Previously, EMS personnel could not provide services in people’s homes unless they were summoned there to respond to an emergency.  Under the new law, trained paramedics may perform emergency medical services in a non-emergency basis if the services are performed under the direction of the department's medical director or cooperating physician advisory board.  

Community paramedicine has a variety of models, but the basic concept calls for trained paramedics to help communities meet the health care needs of vulnerable residents in more cost effective ways than emergency runs and hospitalizations. High risk situations include chronic disease, multiple medications, mental health issues, disabilities, unstable home environments, and lack of family support.  

Community paramedicine is voluntary.  Ohio fire and EMS departments may choose what - if any - community paramedicine program to implement in their communities.  Among the barriers to adopting community paramedicine programs are inadequette staff and funding levels.

Local fire and EMS departments are invited to attend a community paramedicine conference August 21, 9 am to 3 pm., at Maple Knoll Village.  Titled Community Paramedicine in Ohio – New Income Opportunities, the seminar will provide an update on Ohio's new legislation and will feature speakers on success stories, opportunities with hospitals, agencies for the elderly, and retirement centers.

Click here for more information and registration.


Originally Published May 19, 2015

Efforts to bring paramedicine model to Ohio continue with August seminar

For the past several years, fire departments around Ohio have been learning about the international trend called community paramedicine and developing ways to bring it to Ohio. The effort has been championed by Larry Bennett, a lawyer and Program Chair of University of Cincinnati Fire Science and Emergency Management in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Community paramedicine has a variety of models, but the basic concept calls for trained paramedics to help communities meet the health care needs of vulnerable residents in more cost effective ways than emergency runs and hospitalizations. High risk situations include chronic disease, multiple medications, mental health issues, disabilities, unstable home environments, and lack of family support.

Community Paramedicine is a supplement to the traditional emergency medical services (EMS) response model and bridges both community health service and EMS coverage gaps through services such as wellness, health and safety checks. Collaboration on these efforts between paramedical professionals and social services is a common-sense solution to help those at risk stay in their homes and is a lower-cost alternative to overuse of the 911 system.

Council on Aging has worked with Bennett and several fire chiefs in our area to discuss ways that care management and in-home care services could be part of community paramedicine initiatives. COA representatives have given presentations to fire department and EMS personnel at workshops and seminars organized by Bennett.

The next community paramedicine conference will be held August 21, 9 a.m. to 3 pm., at Maple Knoll Village, 11100 Springfield Pike. Titled Community Paramedicine in Ohio – New Income Opportunities, the seminar will feature speakers on success stories, opportunities with hospitals, agencies for the elderly, and retirement centers, and legislation update.

Click here for more information and registration.

Last year, COA participated in a community paramedicine study involving in-home observations of care managers by students in UC’s College of Social Work. Several months ago, COA also launched a new online referral form for professionals (including fire department personnel) that makes it easier for them to refer individuals who might qualify for in-home care services and to be informed about follow-up on their referrals.

State legislative change is required before community paramedicine can be developed in Ohio. Currently, EMS personnel may not provide services in people’s homes unless they are summoned to respond to an emergency. The Ohio Fire Alliance has recently drafted proposed legislation and is seeking sponsors in the Ohio General Assembly, according to Chief Porter R. Welch of the Scioto Township Fire Department and President of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association in 2013-14. The language would expand on existing legislation that allows EMS personnel to provide services in hospitals.

The proposed language states: Authorized non-emergent services - An emergency medical technician-basic, emergency medical technician-intermediate, or emergency medical technician-paramedic may perform emergency medical services in a non-emergency basis if the services are performed under the direction of its medical director or cooperating physician advisory board.

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