Ask North East Mobile Health Services: What is a 'Community Paramedic'?
Glad you asked! Here in Maine, a Community Paramedic is a Maine EMS-licensed paramedic who has graduated from a nationally recognized college based community paramedicine program, or possesses a nationally recognized equivalent set of training and experience. These providers may address all health care issues deemed appropriate by their primary care and EMS medical directors. Specific patient interaction will be on an episodic basis as requested by a physician.
The purpose of community paramedicine evolved from a national need to address unmet health needs in rural and other underserved communities. It also sought to bring advanced life support to communities far from hospitals so that patients requiring critical care would be likelier to receive it. Placing paramedics in such a community and giving them a primary care role that employed their medical skills between emergency calls might meet both needs more affordably. More recently, urban and suburban health systems have learned to employ community paramedicine services to their advantage as an integral member of community health teams in the rapidly changing health care environment.
Community Paramedic roles can include: health outreach; community health assessment and planning; wellness; health screening assessments; health teaching; providing immunizations; disease management, including a thorough understanding of monitoring diabetes, congestive heart failure and other high cost diseases and the methods and medications used to treat them; recognition of mental health issues and referral into the existing mental health care system; wound care; safety programs; and, generally functioning as physician extenders in community health teams.
North East Mobile Health Services is pleased to be among the first in Maine to offer Community Paramedicine training, for its staff and other interested and qualified individuals.