Wednesday Feb 01, 2023

BRINGING HEALTHCARE BACK HOME; CHANGES ON THE HORIZON FOR 911/EMS SERVICES IN WALTON COUNTY BEGINNING AUGUST 1ST – WaltonSO.org

WALTON COUNTY, FLA –  There are no wailing sirens or bright lights, but when Paramedic Ashley Dumont arrives for a home visit, she brings a shining smile with her med bag and stethoscope.

Walton County Fire Rescue is one of the first in the state to introduce a Community Paramedicine Program. The fire-rescue organization serves residents and visitors north of the Choctawhatchee Bay in Walton County.

Community Paramedics are trained, licensed paramedics who respond to certain pre-determined EMS calls for service to visit with patients and provide care.

Until this month, Dumont acted as the sole community paramedic before the program expanded adding another in Lindsey Timpano.

But a prescription for additional changes has been filled as the agency looks to change the response to 911 calls for medical services.

The Community Paramedicine Program provides a continuity of care for those seeking medical attention who previously relied on the emergency room for primary medical care. They would simply call 911 and get transported to a local hospital.

“A lot of people believe calling 911 is their only option,” said Timpano, who’s been with Walton County Fire Rescue since September of 2020. “With the Community Paramedicine Program, we are giving them another avenue to receive care and build better relationships with those patients – it’s more one-on-one.”

Between her and Dumont, the pair have more than 15 years of experience as paramedics in addition to their time serving as EMTs. The only difference is – now –  they don’t arrive for house calls in an ambulance.

Dumont and Timpano can check vitals, catheters, and make fall risk recommendations. Often, the two refer patients who do not need transport to our new Telehealth service for their care needs.

“We have the ability to bring a doctor on an iPad into your home,” said Dumont.

The marker for success has been the reduced number of times these patients need to call 911. Through education and scheduled visits, the customer is receiving in-home care they had previously relied on in the ER.

“We are building rapport and seeing real change,” said Timpano. “Whether that’s locating medical equipment or giving the patients access to resources they didn’t know we’re out there – we are able to help them before they reach a point where they feel the need to call 911.”

CHANGES TO 911 RESPONSE – WHAT TO EXPECT

Previous to new changes, which are set to begin August 1st, the Community Paramedics relied solely on referrals from those working an ambulance on the road and doctors.

“If EMTs or Paramedics responding to a call by ambulance felt that patient would benefit from the community paramedicine program, they would request one go out and make a visit,” said Tim Turner, Assistant Fire Chief and EMS Chief for Walton County Fire Rescue. “Many times, when a person calls 911 the patient involved is not necessarily in need of ambulance transport but does need medical care.”

Now when residents or visitors call 911 for medical services, the information will be triaged by Walton County Sheriff’s Office communications professionals who will use a Tactical Dispatch Plan to determine whether a community paramedic should respond. The result is dispatching a community paramedic in place of an ambulance.

That can mean that an ambulance, rather than being tied up in transporting someone to a medical facility for a …….

Source: https://waltonso.org/bringing-healthcare-back-home-changes-on-the-horizon-for-911-ems-services-in-walton-county-beginning-august-1st/

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