Newton Fire/EMS Department’s Community Paramedicine program has received a 2018 Inspire-Create-Innovate Community Award from the Kansas League of Municipalities.
Chief Scott Metzler accepted the award Monday afternoon at the League’s annual conference in Topeka. The awards program is designed to celebrate excellence in local government programs and spotlight innovations that other communities might replicate.
In 2017, Newton Fire/EMS, in partnership with Newton Medical Center, completed a two-year pilot of a Community Paramedicine program to address rising EMS call volume and increasing use of the hospital emergency department for non-emergency, often non-medical care.
Evidence revealed that emergency system super-users – those citizens who repeatedly call 911 for an ambulance, sometimes more than 20 times per year – often need help that paramedics and emergency room doctors and nurses are unequipped to provide, such as nutritional support, economic support, and mental health intervention.
The Community Paramedicine team developed a referral program in partnership with the hospital’s Social Services Department to connect these patients to the most appropriate services. Team members also developed a predictive super-user screening tool to identify at-risk patients to prevent them from becoming super-users. An in-home fall prevention program is another component of the initiative.
Since implementation, Newton Fire/EMS has seen flattened EMS call volume, a decreased number of super-users, decreased injuries from falls, cost avoidance at the personal and community level, and increased quality of life for at-risk and previously underserved patients.
The program was featured in the League’s October issue of the Kansas Government Journal.