News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Wednesday, Nov. 13th, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- In an emergency, paramedics are some of the first on the scene and they keep working until you reach the hospital doors. But now, their job won't just stop there.
A new community paramedic program will bring follow up care right into your home.
"It's just one more layer of what I've experienced and it's going to just be that one more piece," said 20 year veteran paramedic Michael Willis.
Now Michael is getting a chance to do more by stepping out of the ambulance and into the community.
"I've been in EMS a long time I've done a lot of things," he said. "The only thing you can say is helping people. That is the goal of the day and the goal of my life."
Gold Cross EMS's new community paramedic program will keep their responsibilities going long after they drop the patient at the hospital.
"It's kinda the new way of where EMS is going in the future," said Gold Cross EMS CEO Vince Brogdon.
Instead of just the pre-hospital care they give now, they'll be doing post-hospital checkups.
"This will be separate from our day to day operations. This will actually be a medic and a response vehicle that goes to their home checks on the patients," explained Brogdon.
After a patient is discharged, the paramedics will check in with ability to do blood-work, EKG's and more depending on the patient.
"They're gonna help them walk through the process of eating healthier, watching how they exercise, doing their follow-up appointments and things like that," said Willis.
They say this will help both the patient and the hospital. "It's a way to be in the community," said Brogdon. "Help the hospitals to where the patients discharged don' get readmitted within the 30 day window and it penalizes the hospital."
Willis says it's an important step in the healthcare process that has been missing in the community. " This is going to fill in a gap," he explained.
They have similar programs in Texas, Minnesota and Colorado, but Gold Cross says they don't know of any in the state of Georgia. They actually went to Texas and trained with their community paramedics last month.
Patients will be chosen based on recommendations from the hospitals and physicians. The goal is to give in between care so people don't have to go to the emergency room for the little things.