Ill. healthcare system donates $160K to fire department for community paramedicine program

The new program helps taxpayers and hospitals by giving assistance to the most at-risk patients

ROCKFORD, Ill. — SwedishAmerican of Illinois has donated $160K to Rockford Fire Department to form a community paramedicine program for two years, following a successful six-month test.

The Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) program will assign teams consisting of a Rockford FD paramedic and a SwedishAmerican registered nurse to visit patients in their homes and help them cope with chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease and diabetes.

The point of the program is to reduce the number of 911 calls from patients by proactively treating health problems before they manifest into full-blown emergencies.

SwedishAmerican reported positive results from their preliminary testing, cutting ED visits by 54 percent, and reducing hospital admissions by 28 percent over a six-month period.

“Based upon the successful outcomes obtained from the pilot program, it was determined that the MIH program should continue on a permanent basis with the partnership between Rockford Fire Department and SwedishAmerican,” says Rockford Fire Lieutenant Bob Vertiz.

Moving forward, about 20 patients in the SwedishAmerican health care system will be selected as new subjects for the community paramedicine program. A paramedic will make weekly visits to patient homes, working with primary care providers to help clients acquire the medical resources they need to improve their health.

Official representatives say the new program will not only benefit the patients and their families, but will also ease the burden on taxpayers and hospitals by caring for the area’s most at-risk patients.

SwedishAmerican is planning on expanding the scope of MIH programs by working with Byron Fire, Harlem-Roscoe Fire and Rockton Fire of Illinois.

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