Kevin McGinnis will step down as chief of North East Mobile Health Services as of March 1, and will move into the newly created part-time post of director of community paramedicine.

McGinnis, who will continue as part of North East's leadership team, said he has long wanted to start a community paramedicine program. He said part of the reason for the change is that he has “too many pots on the stove” to be effective as chief.

Several months after he was named chief in 2011, he explained, he was appointed to the board of FirstNet, which was created by Congress to establish a national public safety broadband system. The work takes McGinnis out of state quite a bit, and has put a lot of demands on his time, in addition to other national-level advisory work he is doing.

“The quality of my professional attention was going to begin to be jeopardized,” he said, which led to the creation of the part-time paramedicine position.

Community paramedicine uses paramedics, like those employed by North East, to meet community health needs, he said. For example, the company is starting a falls program where, when someone falls at home, they can choose whether to go to the hospital or simply have a North East paramedic visit the home after the fall. The paramedic would review the patient's medications for anything that might cause dizziness and look at the home's layout for falling risks, as well as making sure that the patient was recovering well.

North East also plans to offer trauma telemedicine, where its staff would do followup assessments for patients who have been treated at a trauma center, such as one of the hospitals in Portland, and will be able to confer with hospital staff via tablet computers. McGinnis said his company would not duplicate the services of home health agencies, but would coordinate with those agencies. He also said North East was working with emergency room staff at Pen Bay Medical Center to develop the new service.

When McGinnis steps down as chief, North East President Dennis Brockway will become interim chief for the company as a whole. Stephen Bennett, who is now deputy chief and chief operating officer, will become full-time sector chief for the Topsham to Rockport region, he said.