For me, in the Los Angeles metro area with 15 million Angelenos (and nearly that many Starbucks!), this can be hard to imagine. But 25% of the US population lives a very long distance from primary medical care. What can be done to bridge this gap?
One idea takes local paramedics and EMTs (often in the local Fire Department) and expands their training to help them become Community Paramedics. Following this training, Community Paramedics support a regional healthcare system by staying in their rural setting and offering various medical services.
Already, about 70% of the calls to a Fire Department are medical related. But in rural settings the volume of calls can be fairly low. The concept of Community Paramedicine takes the underutilized services of a Fire Department and connects them to a local population for more than just Emergency Medicine.
Community Paramedics can be trained to offer services such as:
- Primary Care
- Public Health
- Disease Management
- Prevention and Wellness
- Mental Health
- Dental Care
If you are currently pursuing a paramedic program, or know someone who is, consider this one - Community Paramedicine.