- California: State lawmakers are weighing a bill that would authorize governments in eight counties with high opioid use to test "safe injection sites" that could operate until 2022. At the sites, adults would be allowed to inject drugs they had obtained elsewhere with clean needles and emergency care available. The bill's sponsor, state Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman (D), pointed to research on such facilities in other countries that shows they reduce overdoses and direct more people to treatment (Koseff, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 4/11).
- Tennessee: Former RCCH Healthcare Partners CEO Michael Wiechart has been selected to take over as COO of physician staffing firm TeamHealth. Wiechart, who is expected to assume his new role effective May1, stepped down as a CEO last September after overseeing the merger of hospital chain Capella Healthcare and RegionalCare Hospital Partners thatcreated RCCH. According to Modern Healthcare, "Wiechart rounds out a new operating team at TeamHealth," which private equity firm Blackstone Group bought in a $6.1 billion deal announced last year (Barkholz, Modern Healthcare, 4/11).
- Texas: MedStar Mobile Healthcare is partnering with Lyft to transport low-acuity patients to the hospital without use of an ambulance. When patients call for transport services, certified emergency medical dispatchers and specially trained nurses assess whether a patient needs an ambulance. If they determine that the patient does not need an ambulance, the nurse can call Lyft. According to MedStar officials, a single ambulance dispatch costs about $450, while a month's worth of Lyft services cost about $430 (Rege, Becker's Hospital Review, 4/11).
How to reduce ED utilization with community paramedicine
Many health organizations partner with local EMS providers to provide patient-centered in-home health care services to underserved populations.
Some of these partnerships—categorized as "community paramedicine"—use "upskilled" or advanced practice paramedics to connect at-risk patients to critical resources and address existing gaps in services within the community.
Our white paper takes a closer look at community paramedicine through four case study profiles of organizations that have developed successful care models.