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PeaceHealth, San Juan EMS collaborate to continue community paramedicine program

PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center is partnering with San Juan Island Emergency Medical Services to continue and expand a Community Paramedicine Program aimed at improving the quality of life and health for San Juan islanders and reducing the cost of care.

Launched in 2016, the Community Paramedicine program employs two full-time paramedics who provide non-emergency EMS visits to patients in their homes. The program helps fill gaps in care, including:

Providing post-hospital discharge follow-up care

Assessing homes for safety risks

Supporting chronic disease management

Assisting with medication regimens

Supporting family caregivers

Sharing health education

Helping patients understand how to access food, transportation and other resources

The program lead is Lainey Volk, director of outreach. Last November, the district hired a second Community Paramedicine EMT, Ryder Cuddington. Both Volk and Cuddington are uniformed personnel and have official emergency response vehicles. PeaceHealth is excited to provide $110,000 in funding to support this thriving program.

Patients are referred to the program by emergency responders, social services, clinics and the hospital

“This program has had an incredible impact on our most vulnerable populations,” said Jack Estrada, chief administrative officer at PeaceHealth Peace Island. “They’re able to avoid costly and unnecessary ER visits and get the kind of support they need to manage their care and get on a path to better health. We’re really pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish through this collaboration.”

As an example, Estrada noted a joint effort in 2021 by PeaceHealth and the Community Paramedicine team to reach homebound people in need of COVID-19 vaccines. PeaceHealth Medical Group helped identify patients, then worked with San Juan EMS to create a map of the island and an efficient workflow plan. A PeaceHealth clinic nurse rode along to administer the vaccine with a trained EMT to provide patient observation.

The program has seen steady growth since its inception.

“The Community Paramedicine program has significantly improved outcomes for many patients, while also reducing call volumes and repeat emergency service visits,” said Nathan Butler, EMS Administrator San Juan Island EMS. “The reach of this program is truly remarkable given the amount of staffing assigned to it. These are the hardest, most difficult cases that our community has. This program helps keep our emergency department and ambulances available for truly emergent cases.”

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has more than 15,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 1,200 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at peacehealth.org.


Last modified onSunday, 01 May 2022 02:46

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