Letter: A new model for health care in Ocean Shores?

Management of our health care delivery system is the most critical issue facing the city of Ocean Shores. This year, calls to our fire department have increased by 45%. Data provided to date does not indicate if a call was to change a battery in a smoke alarm, remove a cat from a tree or transport a patient suffering a stroke or a heart attack. A call is a call is a call. Often citizens who lack access to primary care, also use 911 and emergency services to receive healthcare in non-emergency situations. And costs continue to escalate. With no urgent care facility in the city, and a hospital that is half an hour distant, our traditional firefighter/paramedic model requires re-thinking.

Community paramedicine is a new and evolving healthcare model. It allows paramedics to operate in expanded roles by assisting with public health, primary healthcare and preventive services to address the needs of citizens in a more efficient and proactive way. Ocean Shores Fire Department could also team up with our Nurse Practitioner. RN’s could work at our library. Many fire departments and libraries across the states are using those new models.

Combined with Telemedicine that allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology, we can redefine our model. Lessen the burden on our citizens and our emergency personnel while providing efficient health care options. Leah LaCivita suggests, “Community paramedicine can provide vulnerable populations with the resources they need, avoiding emergency room visits and connecting patients to additional social or behavioral health services in the community.”

On Thursday, Jan. 2, the topic of Community Paramedicine will be discussed at my council coffee meeting, Community Voices from 11-12:30pm. The location is North Beach Senior Center. 885 Ocean Shores Blvd., NW. Everyone is welcome.

For more information, please read: http://mrsc.org/Home/Stay-Informed/MRSC-Insight/November-2019/Community-Paramedicine-Filling-Gaps-in-Healthcare.aspx

Susan Conniry

OS council member