The Port Angeles Fire Department (PAFD) has recently broke tradition with a collaborative and proactive approach to a complex issue.
Over the years, the PAFD has witnessed an increasing trend in emergency service utilization, resulting in a demand for resources that just are not there. Chief Ken Dubuc describes the three main causes of non-emergency 9-1-1 calls, “One, they simply don’t have an alternative. Two, people have alternatives, they just don’t know what they are. Three, there are a lot of folks out there who can’t afford any alternatives, they aren’t insured, they may not have transportation, or the means of accessing the services around there.”
Determined to better serve the community, the PAFD knew there was a better way to prevent the overuse of emergency services, shifting from a reactive mode to a proactive mode.
By crossing the sector divide and teaming up with local providers and community services, PAFD implemented a pilot Community Paramedicine program that is having an incredible impact on the community.
PAFD Community Paramedic, Daniel Montana works alongside North Olympic Healthcare Network, Olympic Medical Center, Peninsula Behavioral Health, Jamestown Family Health Clinic, Lower Elwha Tribal Clinic, and PA Police Department & Olympic Peninsula Community Clinic (formerly VIMO). These partnerships allow the Community Paramedic to equip community members with a wide variety of resources and services.
In just six months, the Community Paramedicine program has seen a 50% decrease in EMS calls and transports to the Emergency Room after initial contact with the Community Paramedic.
But the impact goes beyond the numbers. "[The pilot] resulted in better patient outcomes. I don’t want to lose sight of the reason that we are doing this: to provide a better level of care," says Dubuc.
Dubuc expresses the importance of collaboration, "It took a leap of faith but we did it, we have the backing of the state and the backing of some really supportive community partners [. . .] The support we’ve received from North Olympic Healthcare Network has been incredible." Through partnership and collaboration, the organizations involved in the Port Angeles Community Paramedicine program are truly making a difference in the community.
Want to learn more about the Community Paramedicine program in Port Angeles? Check the PAFD 2019 Mid-Year Report.
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Olympic Community of Health (OCH) is a nonprofit and an accountable community of health in Washington State. Our purpose is to facilitate healthcare delivery transformation and community health improvement across the Olympic region.