Paramedics Shift Roles to Home Care Providers in New Pilot Program

Several ambulance companies in Massachusetts are shifting their long-standing roles as first responders to emergencies, to home care service providers through a new pilot program, The Boston Globe reports.

The concept behind the pilot is to to expand the paramedic’s role to a provider who not only responds to emergencies, but also helps prevent them and reduce unnecessary hospital visits.

Dorchester, MA-based EasCare LLC is set to be one of the first ambulatory providers to take on this initiative. 

This summer, the company will launch the program with 2,000 patients of Commonwealth Care Alliance, a not-for-profit Greater Boston network of nurse practitioners, behavioral health professionals, social services providers and other health care professionals to support the primary care clinician.

“We really do believe this is the new house call of the future,” said EasCare Chief Executive George Gilpin to The Globe.

Under the program, paramedics may treat patients with infections, minor wounds, injuries from falls, as well as chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure.

The program, which expects to receive approval from the state Department of Public Health soon, is not the first-of-its kind when it comes to ambulance companies branching out their services to control costs under the Affordable Care Act.

North of the border, EasCare’s parent company, Medavie EMS of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has a pilot program that also provides home care. The company’s pilot showed that paramedic care eliminated emergency room visits 73% of the 135 seniors treated over nine months in 2011.

Since Massachusetts has no specific regulations regarding paramedics providing home care services, the state’s Department of Public Health must approve the programs on a case by case basis. 

“In terms of the quality of care we will be able to deliver, it’s a game changer,” said Dr. Toyin Ajayi, hospitalist medical director and director of transitional medicine at Commonwealth Care Alliance in the article. “This is one of those innovations in the way we deliver health care that passes the common sense test.”

Read more at The Boston Globe.

Written by Jason Oliva

Jason Oliva