House calls might have real benefits for patients

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Julian Watras is a paramedic with Commonwealth Health Emergency Medical Services. On this day, he’s not answering a 911 call rather, he’s headed to check out a pilot program that brings health care right to a patient’s home.

Julian Watras/Commonwealth Health Paramedic: “For years, EMS provided a one size fits all approach to problems. You’d call 9-1-1, we’d show up at your house and the only answer was to take you to the ER.”

That’s where Chuck Atwell comes in. He’s one of four paramedics assigned to a gated community in Pike County. He responds to various medical calls and while some are medical emergencies, not all have to be handled in a hospital.

Chuck Atwell/Commonwealth Health Paramedic: “We’ll come into their homes and do an intake on them, go through everything, their medical history and any records they have.”

Paul Roth signed up for home visits through the pilot program that started late last year. While he didn’t have any symptoms, Chuck did an assessment and discovered an irregular heartbeat, which led to an EKG and treatment by a cardiologist.

Paul Roth/Lords Valley: “To find out after he put the monitor on me that I had a problem. It didn’t show up normally before with any other doctor. He called the doctor for me.”

Paul and his wife are grateful for the home visits, which alleviate the need for driving and waiting to be seen in doctors’ offices.

Paul Roth says, “I think it was a great idea. The best thing we ever did.”

Based on the success of the pilot program in that community, Commonwealth Health is looking to expand to other areas and services.

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