An independent study by Healthforce Center at UCSF has shown that California’s community paramedicine pilot projects have improved patient well-being and generated savings for insurers and hospitals.
“Our independent evaluation of California’s community paramedicine pilot program shows promising results, demonstrating how specially trained paramedics are uniquely positioned to fill health care gaps, improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs,” said Janet Coffman, MA, MPP, PhD, and associate professor at the UCSF School of Medicine. “The Healthforce Center analysis revealed many examples of how partnering with patients, rather than simply transporting them to emergency rooms, can yield positive results, and suggests the benefits of community paramedicine programs will grow as they solidify partnerships, secure stable funding, and find their optimal niche.”
Community paramedicine (CP), also known as mobile integrated health, is an innovative model of care that is being implemented throughout the United States. The California Emergency Medical Services Authority has sponsored a pilot project under which specially trained paramedics perform duties beyond their traditional roles of responding to 911 calls, transporting patients to emergency departments and performing inter-facility transfers.
Healthforce Center has completed an evaluation of the first 16 months of the pilot project, which was funded by the California Health Care Foundation. The evaluation found that community paramedics can collaborate successfully with physicians, nurses, behavioral health professionals, and social workers to fill gaps in the health and social services safety net.
The evaluation concluded that the post-discharge, frequent EMS user, tuberculosis, hospice, and behavioral health projects are safe, improve patients’ well-being, and, in most cases, generate savings for health insurers and hospitals that exceed the cost of operating these projects.
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