Letters to the Editor: Questions about paramedicine program

Letters to the Editor: Questions about paramedicine program

Letters to the Editor

Upon reading an article out of The Alamedan called "Alameda paramedicine pilot set to launch," published April 7, 2015, I am writing this as a concerned citizen of Alameda County. It has come to my attention this pilot program has been approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Currently, there are no substantial research findings that can support quality health outcomes for citizens who have been cared for by paramedics.

In addition, by attempting to expand the paramedics' scope of practice it not only dilutes the emergency point of care role of a paramedic, it undermines the role of home health nurses, who are more qualified professionals who have undergone extensive health assessment education and patient centered care model.

With that said, instead of using the county's money to train paramedics, why not invest in what the community has in place, which are the home health nurses who are already trained. My point is instead of allocating money spent on pilot programs that may not work, perhaps invest in the trusted nurse?

Souriphone Khounnoraj


Submitted by James Colburn (not verified) on Thu, May 7, 2015

After reading this letter to the editor, I wanted to offer information regarding the Community Paramedic pilot project Alameda Fire is participating in.

The purpose of this Community Paramedic pilot project is to fill gaps that currently exist in the healthcare system while concurrently gathering data in order to examine and improve methods of healthcare delivery. Oversight of the program and corresponding data is being provided by Alameda County EMS (LEMSA), UCSF, and the California Emergency Medical Services Agency (EMSA).

The scope of practice for the Community Paramedics is NOT expanded, but rather, their roles as healthcare providers is shifting from the traditional reactionary model (911 response) to a preventative care model. The primary role of the Community Paramedics is to recognize the needs of their enrolled clients and to connect them with available local resources.

The people being enrolled in the program don't necessarily have access to home healthcare nurses and / or other ancillary medical services. The majority of clients who fall into the “familiar faces” category are homeless and have limited to no access to primary healthcare, and as such, rely heavily on already overburdened and overfilled Emergency Departments for their medical needs.

Additional information on the Community Paramedic Pilot Project can be viewed on the EMSA webpage: http://www.emsa.ca.gov/Community_Paramedicine

Community Paramedic Fact Sheet: http://www.emsa.ca.gov/Media/Default/PDF/CommunityParamedicineFactSheet2...

Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions:

James Colburn, Captain
Alameda Fire Department