Paramedic pilot program

Paramedic pilot program

For all the technological advances in medicine, there are some who believe that re-visiting the simple idea of ‘house calls’ might have real benefits for patients.

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.

"For years, EMS provided a one size fits all approach to problems. You'd call 911, we'd show up at your house and the only answer was to take you to the ER," Julian Watras, Commonwealth Health Paramedic, said.

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.

"We'll come into their homes and do an intake on them, go through everything, heir medical history and any records they have," Chuck Atwell, Common Health Paramedic, said.

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.

"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 Roth of Lords Valley said.

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

"I think it was a great idea, the best thing we ever did," Roth added.

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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