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The Smart Med Card

Friday, September 16, 2011

Knock, Knock, It's the Paramedics

Now today's story makes me proud of the field that I'm going into! Right now, there is a pilot-program involving Eagle County, Colorado where a group of Paramedics are making house-calls. Now, usually Paramedics are concerned not with full/complete diagnoses of patients nor are they usually concerned with anything other than stabilization to get the patient to the hospital and transfer care, but, this group of Paramedics have increased their training and are using down-time, time waiting for calls, for the better. Here's how the program works.

Those in the EMT field work for a Medical Director - a Physician whose job it is to define what EMTs/Paramedics do, how they do it and what they are allowed to do. Anything outside of their scope of practice and they must consult with their Medical Director on the spot. Well, this group is taking things one step further. Rather than waiting for emergencies, the Paramedics, with a bit more training and a direct line to patient-referring Physicians, now go to patients' houses who are under-insured or not insured at all and are at risk of medical emergencies (the elderly and home-bound). Here they play the eyes and ears of a doctor. They take ECG readings, blood-samples, vitals - what you'd expect during a doctor visit. The Paramedics then relay this information back to their supervising Physicians who make the determination of whether or not this patient needs to come in.

The purpose of this program (although to some it may not seem that obvious) is to cut costs of the healthcare system. You see, what this program is doing is preventative care - saving someone from an unnecessary and costly trip to the emergency room, a cost that can be devastating for someone who is not insured. The lack of preventative care is one of the most costly parts of the healthcare system - using resources needlessly. In fact, this the same reason for the Smart Med Card. It's health-profile can always be kept up-to-date and the need of unnecessary testing and duplicate testing can be mitigated, saving the hospital, insurance and patients billions over the healthcare system.

Now, for those of you who are weary of Paramedics doing the job of a doctor, realize this. Paramedics down to EMTs operate as an extension of the Medical Director's practicing license. So, all that goes wrong goes wrong for the Medical Director - if the Medical Director did not feel their designated agents (the Paramedics and EMTs working under them) could handle the job - then they wouldn't be doing it. It's been said time and time again - preventative care will be the savior of the healthcare system and this is that push towards it.

Secondly, their time in the field does not interfere with medical emergencies and will, in the long-run, reduce the number of calls for medical incidents! The savings are everywhere!

Please consider doing your part and order your Smart Med Card at http://www.thesmartmedcard.com. Help lessen your cost of healthcare as well as the system as a whole!

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