TOLEDO A new partnership program between the Toledo Fire Department and Mercy health is reducing the number of unnecessary emergency calls to 911 and trips to the emergency room. The challenge is that people with chronic illnesses were calling 911 for situations that weren't an emergency. Marvin Parker is a Toledo Fire Department Paramedic and helps run the Community Paramedic Program along with Mercy Health. "We consider ourselves health care navigators," says Parker, "It can be anything from diabetes education, congestive heart failure education, post stroke education."
Parker partners with Mercy Health community health worker Heidi Trombly. They identify the patients who are chronic 911 callers or emergency room visitors that really need help in managing their condition and navigating the health care system. "Once they are seen in the ER they get the discharge papers, it says see this doctor, see that doctor, get this test," says Trombly. So she and Parker work with these patients to teach them to work with their health issues and connect them to the right services and health care providers.
Captain Cheryl Locher says the numbers show it's working. "Of the 35 patients we followed over 3-months, we reduced 911 calls by 117 during that period," says Locher. According to numbers released by Mercy Health over the first year of the Paramedic program, 125 patients have received help in managing their chronic condition. Emergency room visits for those patients went down 50%, hospital admissions have gone down by 30%. The ultimate goal of the program is to make sure patients are able to be independent and manage their care themselves. So far the program has served 125 people. The cost savings are easily in the hundreds of thousands when all is said and done.