Posts Tagged fire departments embrace in home preventative medical visits

Rockford Fire Department news

Excerpts from the

The Rockford City Council approved an agreement that will expand the Rockford Fire Department’s mobile integrated health program, could reduce congestion in area emergency rooms, and decrease the number non-emergency ambulance rides.

Chief Derek Bergsten said under the program, Rockford firefighter paramedics will provide will conduct home visits with Medicare patients focused on preventative care, chronic disease management, and post-hospital discharge follow-up.

Humana at Home of Chicago will reimburse the city for the visits which will utilize existing staff and equipment. The cost to the city for fire department personnel and the vehicle for the program is an estimated $133,559 per year. Payments from Humana to the fire department are expected to total up to $8,400 per month and cover most of the cost.

While conducting a home health visit that can help reduce re-admissions into hospitals, fire department personnel also will conduct a safety check of the home or apartment. Those checks could include looking for trip hazards, making sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operational, and providing residents with fire prevention information.

Tags: , , , , ,

Rockford firefighters to visit chronic patients at home

Excerpts from

OSF Saint Anthony is teaming up with the Rockford Fire Department to start visiting sick patients, who are frequent visitors to the ER, at their homes. It’s called Mobile Integrated Care.

“We can tell them what [behavior] to change all we want in the hospital, but unless we can help them, and encourage them, and reduce some of these barriers, they’re not going to be able to make the changes [they need] and they might plunk themselves right back into the hospital,” said OSF’s Emergency Medical Services’ Director, Jane Pearson.

The program will start with 10 to 15 patients at a time. They’re focusing on the chronically ill, frail, elderly, or mobility-impaired.

“Perhaps they’re in the hospital with an acute illness but they have chronic medical problems,” said Pearson. “When they’re released home, they’re not always quite ready to assume all their daily care.”

Fire Chief Derek Bergsten hopes the initiative will reduce 911 calls, which cost the city about $21,000 last year.

“I think it’s going to prove a benefit to their overall health and decrease admissions … to the hospital,” said Bergsten.

A Rockford Fire Department paramedic or EMT, along with Pearson, will work hands-on to help the patients, from their diets to connecting them with social services.

“It’s essentially trying to find some way to try to give education, and services and support, and eliminate barriers for patients that are falling through the gaps,” said Pearson.

Other Rockford initiatives in home visits can be found HERE and HERE

Tags: , , , , ,

Rockford firefighters and area nurses perform home visits (more)

Excerpts from

A pilot program that teamed the Rockford Fire Department with SwedishAmerican Hospital to reduce the number of times “superusers” ride an ambulance to the emergency room was successful this year, b how to fund an expansion of the program remains unclear.

Eight of SwedishAmerican’s estimated 380 patients who use the emergency department more than 10 times per year and often visit dozens of times were chosen to participate. Nurses and fire personnel conducted health and safety check home visits during the first half of the year, significantly cutting the number of times the patients wound up in the ER, said Dr. Kathleen Kelly, the chief clinical integration officer for SwedishAmerican.

Called the Mobile Integrated Healthcare pilot program, it involved just a fraction of the number of patients who are using, and in some cases abusing, ambulance services in Rockford. The goal was to reduce the number of avoidable ER visits and ambulance rides while improving the health of the eight participants.

“After our intervention where our team made proactive home visits to our patients to try to understand what the triggers were for coming to the emergency department, they were able to reduce the (emergency department) and ambulance transfers by a significant amount,” Kelly said.

Officials said an expansion of the program, which could involve funding and cooperation from all three major health systems in the region, would be effective. And the results match what has been seen in other places across the country that have implemented mobile health care programs.

The eight patients chosen for the pilot program visited the SwedishAmerican Hospital emergency room a combined 65 times the first six months of 2014. With assistance from home visits, the number of their ER trips dropped to 30 in the same time period this year, a 54 percent reduction.  In addition, they took 30 ambulance rides in the first half of 2015, a 38 percent reduction from the 48 rides they took in the first half of 2014.

All have complex medical conditions requiring treatment with medications. But much of the time, a visit to the primary care physician would be a better use of resources and provide improved health results, Kelly said.

They are often living in poverty or have low incomes and might not have access to resources or transportation. Just providing the patients with a phone number to reach nurses who could answer their questions prevented many calls to 911, Kelly said.


Tags: , , ,