Pilot program to link paramedics, patients and house calls
Off-duty Palatine paramedics will make house calls to check on certain patients released from Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights as part of a new pilot program involving two other agencies.
Paramedics from the Palatine, Rolling Meadows and the Palatine Rural fire departments are to collaborate in their coverage areas to work for Northwest Community's mobile integrated health care pilot, which is designed to improve patient outcomes by reducing preventable hospital visits and re-admissions.
Northwest Community has budgeted about $131,100 for the one-year pilot and will reimburse the public agencies for the paramedics and other expenses, according to documents provided to Palatine officials.
Palatine Fire Chief Scott Andersen said Northwest Community will provide notification about the patients needing the paramedic house calls within 12 to 48 hours of discharge. Andersen credited Connie Mattera, Northwest Community's emergency medical services administrative director and system coordinator, for organizing the pilot project.
"It is very exciting," Andersen told the village council before it approved the pilot program participation. "I akin it to 1972 when the paramedic program rolled out here. This is cutting-edge, next-phase service."
Andersen said three or four paramedic house calls are projected for each patient. About nine paramedics from the three departments are expected to be available for the house calls to make sure the patients are following post-discharge directions.
"The reason why we're looking at that model, as opposed to home health care, is the hospital feels that they're going to gain a greater level of patient compliance with your local hometown paramedic," he said.
Rolling Meadows aldermen are to address the proposal at a meeting Tuesday night. After all final approvals are gained, Andersen said, the three fire chiefs will meet with Mattera to determine when the one-year program will begin.
Patients 18 and older will be eligible for the pilot. The program will focus on patients who were in the hospital and sent home to recover from heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia with a high risk for sepsis or a major joint replacement.
Northwest Community will reimburse the fire departments a minimum of $135 per visit, covering the paramedics' pay and other expenses. Andersen said the off-duty Palatine paramedics will receive $38.99 per hour.
Data will be collected from 480 discharged patients for Northwest Community to evaluate the effectiveness of the mobile integrated health care pilot, documents show.
Palatine Councilman Tim Millar expressed his support for the pilot program.
"It'll be pretty exciting to see how that works out," he said. "Obviously, a benefit to the community as well as our (firefighter/paramedic) staff. They can get those extra hours.