Lead-Deadwood paramedics will soon be able to help assess potential health risks for discharged patients, with an expansion of their role thanks to a new community aid program. The Black Hills Pioneer reports that this program is meant to fill gaps in the quality of care for patients after they are discharged from Lead-Deadwood Regional Hospital and help keep patients out of the hospital in the future.
Roy Goben, operations manager for the Lead-Deadwood Hospital Ambulance Service, says the program will first focus on homes’ fall hazards but may expand to include other safety assessments by paramedics. Dr. Thomas Groeger, a family medicine physician at the hospital, said these kinds of programs work well in rural areas, helping healthcare professionals provide continued preventative care for patients.
Needs for the service will be decided by the discharging attendant in consultation with the patient, and services will be scheduled and provided at no additional cost if deemed necessary. All participation is completely discretionary. These services are an extension of current staff and are not reimbursable by Medicare/Medicaid standards.
Paramedics who participate in this program will be authorized by the state to do so but will not be authorized to offer medical advice or diagnoses. If a fall hazard or risk is found, patients will be recommended to existing outside home care facilities. Currently three full-time and one part-time paramedic have been authorized to participate in Lead-Deadwood’s program.
Currently, the Rapid City Fire Department is the only other entity in South Dakota authorized to operate a Community Paramedicine Program.
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