Under a proposed pilot project, paramedics in California could be making non-emergency visits to check on people who have been recently discharged from hospitals.
The “Community Paramedicine” program would allow paramedics to use their experience working in the field to make follow up visits with people at home and provide medical care and advice.
“They are very adept at evaluating and assessing patients’ conditions and intervening with highly skilled interventions and medications when needed,” says Doctor Howard Backer with the Emergency Medical Services Authority.
The paramedics would also be able to transport people with a minor injuries or substance abuse problems to urgent care clinics, thus easing overcrowding at hospital emergency rooms.
Critics of the program say doctors, nurses and other medical professionals should play a larger oversight role.
Similar pilot programs are underway in some communities around the state. The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development will make a decision on whether to approve the pilot program soon.