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State Aims To Reduce Unnecessary ER Visits By Empowering Paramedics

26 Jul 2019 8:00 PM | AIMHI Admin (Administrator)

Civil Beat source article | Comments courtesy of Matt Zavadsky

A VERY well done article and even better program!  Kudos to our pacific island EMS crews and their governing body for taking this step!

Note the use also of Community Health Workers.  And, Hawaii has a nearly universal payer system, which helps these types of programs demonstrate value.

We were blessed to host Jesse Ebersole and Vern Hara from Hawaii County EMS at MedStar a couple of years ago, they have very unique challenges and now, it seems, unique solutions!


State Aims To Reduce Unnecessary ER Visits By Empowering Paramedics

Hawaii is creating a community paramedicine program that officials hope will mean fewer ambulance trips to hospitals.

By Lorin Eleni Gill

July 26, 2019

Minor wounds, rashes, gout pain — these are some of the many medical conditions that should be taken seriously, but they may not merit a 911 call or a trip to the emergency room.

Hawaii health officials are considering how to reduce unnecessary ER visits through a community paramedicine program. The revised emergency transport system that could begin next year would allow medical professionals to transfer patients to predesignated destinations, such as urgent care clinics, or even provide complete treatment at the scene.

“Can paramedics go treat people in the field, in the community setting under a physician’s direction, and offer a treatment when they don’t need to go anywhere?” asked James Ireland, a nephrologist and the former director of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department. “Can they do some simple wound cleaning and start the patient on some antibiotics under the guidance of a physician? I think that’s where the huge cost savings can be.”

When Gov. David Ige signed Act 140 into law June 25, it marked the latest development in an effort to make Hawaii’s emergency response system run more smoothly. Starting as early as next year, the law will allow paramedics or other medical professionals to treat some patients at the scene of an emergency — or nonemergency —  and navigate them to appropriate care at other clinical sites.


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