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HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind. – Hendricks Regional Hospital has launched a community paramedicine program that aims to break the ambulance-hospital service cycle in non-emergency situations.

The county says they’re dealing with too many non-emergency EMS calls, and they’re hoping the new program will help cut back.

According to the Hendricks Regional Health in Hendricks County, 50 percent of EMS calls are for non-emergency needs. That adds up to as much as $1.2 million annually in care and services delivered by EMS and emergency departments.

“That is really a detriment for the surrounding neighbors and the community,” said Dr. Dustin Holland, the Medical Director for the community paramedicine program, “It’s hard to fathom calling 911 more than once in a year, but we actually have patients who have called 911 a dozen or two dozen times this year.”

Hendricks Regional Health wants to be proactive.  They’ve launched central Indiana’s only hospital funded community paramedicine program.

“So many 911 calls that are not true emergencies,” said Kevin Speer the President and CEO of Hendricks Regional Health.

Here’s how it works: A paramedic and social worker team will visit the patient at home and spend as much time as needed to help the patient get the care and find the resources they need. They’ll assist with medication or social services, then follow up as often as needed.

“You call 911 and EMS is going to respond,” explained Speer.

EMS will still respond to your call, but if you find yourself calling 911 multiple times, those crews can now refer you to the community paramedicine program to connect with you with other resources that could be more beneficial.

According to Hendricks Regional Health’s website, here are some common reasons to refer to a community paramedic:

  • In-home health assessments
  • Blood draws for lab results
  • Assisting with management of chronic illness at home
  • Medication reconciliation and education
  • Wellness, healthy eating, resource management education
  • In-home falls assessment
  • Help connecting with other community resources
  • Public health, home health, social services, continuity of care services

“We have several patients already that have been referred from our fire and EMS agencies,” said Holland, “We have a paramedic and a social worker paired together, so their training is different.”

It’s an effort to conserve resources for true emergencies, while reaching patients outside the emergency room to help live healthier and safer lifestyles.

“They can put that money back into resources,” said Speer, “They can afford to acquire new ambulances, they can increase salaries, they can hire additional resources for them.”

Within this first year, Hendricks Regional Hospital hopes to connect with 800 patients.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if every city, town, little area in Indiana has something to combat non-emergency 911 calls in 20 years,” said Holland.

To contact the  program for a referral, call (317) 718-HELP (4357).

Click here for more information.