Next up in the news is a story about a nurse practitioner who is finding ways to improve the health care in his community by improving the way that emergency services resources are being utilized. Family nurse practitioner, Tom Morris, is working with the Mesa, Arizona fire department to ride along on emergency calls as dictated by the 911 dispatchers when the call is not very serious.

Local Hospital Improves EMS System Usage

paramedics-ambulanceTom previously worked with the Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona. He now rides along with a fire department paramedic in what is being called a “transitional response vehicle” which is basically an ambulance outfitted with a treatment area and much of the same equipment one might see in an urgent care clinic.

Over the last six months of this pilot program Tom and his paramedic colleague have been able to take care of 50% of the patients that they see by treating them in their home, rather than having them always take a trip to the emergency department after calling 911. The system includes a next day follow up call to check on the patient and make sure that everything is still okay following the previous day’s treatment by the transitional vehicle team.

Nurses Team With Community Paramedics

The hospital was approached by the mayor city Council and fire department about putting this program together. While it was only initially funded for a single year, the hospital has announced plans to continue the program. In my other program for EMS providers called the MedicCast, I frequently talk about programs like this, referred to commonly as community paramedic programs. These programs are finding ways to treat patients without having to take them to the emergency department. This removes the problem of overcrowding of emergency departments and overuse of emergency departments for primary care patient issues.

The most interesting thing about the Community Paramedic initiative is how each community is defining the ways in which this program works based upon their specific community’s needs. I would urge you to look at some of the needs in your community and find ways to integrate your health response to that his needs with the local emergency responders were already in place and able to provide basic medical and healthcare treatment in the field.


Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Holistic Nursing in Your Practice and Episode 241.


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