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South County Fire receives grant for community paramedic telehealth

Post Date:06/04/2020 4:39 PM
South County Fire is receiving a $10,000 grant to launch a telehealth program to safely connect community paramedics with older adults and other vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community paramedics provide non-emergency assistance to frequent 911 callers. The program helps clients access social services and community resources to meet their needs. This reduces 911 calls and emergency room visits.
During the pandemic, community paramedics have been reaching out to clients by telephone, but that has limitations, explained Community Paramedic Capt. Nicole Picknell. “Seeing a client face to face gives us a better understanding of their needs and how we can help. Right now, we can’t safely do that.”

Telehealth will restore this level of connection with the added benefit of allowing direct contact with a physician’s office or social service providers. “We can link in with the doctor’s office or social services during the telehealth call so we can schedule an appointment or work together on the spot to coordinate follow-up services,” explained Picknell.

The telehealth software complies with federal health information privacy and security requirements. The program is easy to use:  Clients connect by clicking on a link received by text or email. For clients without a cell phone or internet, the grant will pay for a small number of mobile devices that can be delivered in advance of a telehealth call. 

The grant is provided by the North Sound Accountable Community of Health. This nonprofit organization partners with the Washington State Health Care Authority in the Medicaid Transformation Project to improve health for people on Medicaid.

South County Fire provides fire and emergency medical services with 14 neighborhood fire stations serving more than 250,000 residents of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and unincorporated south Snohomish County.
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