Almost two years ago the Crisis Center’s TransCare Medical Transportation division launched its pilot Community Paramedicine program made possible by a grant from Florida Blue. The goal for this pilot is to work with community members who frequently utilize hospital emergency rooms for basic healthcare, and connect them with a primary care physician, behavioral health care, or other medical resources better suited to their needs.
We have already expanded the program to two full-time paramedics, with plans to hire a third in the coming months. On average, our paramedics are working with 30 - 40 patients at a time, over the span of two to three months. In total, we have graduated 104 patients from the program, and have seen a 75% reduction in hospital visits to date.
As with many things, the Community Paramedicine program adjusted its services when COVID-19 began to impact activities. The paramedics limit their exposure to patients, opting for video conferencing whenever possible and only providing face-to-face services when absolutely necessary.
The expansion of this program not only provides professional growth opportunities for our current TransCare EMTs to advance as paramedics, but also helps to lessen the burden on hospital emergency rooms in Tampa. Community Paramedicine currently works with two hospitals in the community, and discussions are taking place to implement the program in a third facility.