In 2017, The Danville Life Saving Crew (DLSC) answered over 7,750 EMS calls. More than 1,000 calls were non-emergent and tied up valuable resources. To help reduce 9-1-1 abuse, DLSC established a Community Paramedicine Program to reach out to frequent callers.
“Our ultimate goal is to make a person as healthy and self-reliant as possible, to make them less dependent on EMS for healthcare,” Johnny Mills, community paramedicine program coordinator, said.
DLSC hired Mills last November to research and establish the program. He visited Pittsburg’s Community Paramedic Academy and met with Chesterfield Fire and EMS to learn about the benefits of bringing this program to Danville. He implemented a pilot program in late 2017 to determine if an outreach program would reduce 9-1-1 calls in the city.
At least 13% of the 9-1-1 calls in 2017 were made by the same recurrent callers. The average frequent caller made 10 or more emergency calls last year, with the top caller dialing 9-1-1 over 60 times. Many of these patients have chronic illnesses and are unable to live independently.
“Some callers may not understand their illness or that they need to take their medication regularly,” Mills said. “Some may not have money for medication or understand the importance of keeping up with doctor’s appointments.”
Mills is currently working with 26 Danville residents. He teaches them to live more independently and to better understand their health issues. Mills visits these community members regularly to check their blood pressure, discuss medicine administration and connect them with community resources. He also helps them find a primary care doctor, learn how to use public transportation and fall-proof their homes.
“We have been working to establish this program for three years,” DLSC Chief Robbie Woodall said. “We’re certain the Community Paramedicine Program will be an asset to the community, our EMS agency and local medical facilities.”
As 2018 progresses, DLSC hopes to reduce at least 25% of non-emergent calls which will help save the organization more than $60,000. By cutting these costs, DLSC will be able to have more vehicles on the road to respond to true emergencies.