REMSA and Renown Health have entered into a new partnership to ensure three innovative community health programs that began three years ago continue even as the grant that created them ends.
Officials from both organizations announced the alliance during a press conference Monday at the REMSA office on Edison Way.
REMSA began the three programs — the Nurse Health Line, Community Paramedicine, and the Ambulance Transport Alternative — launched in 2012 with a three-year, $9.8 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Healthcare Innovation Award.
Preliminary outcomes from the programs, which make up REMSA’s Community Health Program, show that they continue to facilitate healthcare access and reduce costs with more than 6,200 emergency room visits avoided, over 1,000 ambulance transports avoided, and more than $9.6 million in savings to patients and the healthcare system.
The programs received a fourth-year extension under the grant funding, which recently concluded. Going forward, the three programs will be supported by Renown while continuing to be managed by REMSA.
“These programs are vital to creating healthy communities by giving people access to services they might otherwise not know how to access,” Dean Dow, president and CEO of REMSA, said. “Renown’s commitment to this partnership allows all three programs to continue and for the Nurse Health Line to be available to all citizens in the region.”
The programs help ensure that individuals are directed to the resource appropriate for their needs rather than automatically being transported to the emergency room.
“Renown is committed to improving the health of the community, which means more than just providing quality healthcare,” Anthony D. Slonim, MD, DrPH, president and CEO of Renown Health, said. “It means going outside the hospital walls, offering programs and services that make a lasting difference in the health and well-being of families throughout our region.”
The three programs are:
Nurse Health Line (775-858-1000) is staffed with specially trained registered nurses, certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch, who provide assessment and triage. They are available 24-hours a day, seven-days a week to provide assessment, care recommendations and/or referral to the appropriate health care or community service. The nurses are co-located and fully integrated with the 9-1-1 emergency medical dispatch system, which assures ease of hand-off to 9-1-1 operators when necessary.
Ambulance Transport Alternatives program provides pathways of care other than transport to the emergency department for patients calling 9-1-1. This includes transport of patients with low acuity medical conditions to urgent care centers and clinics for treatment, the transport of medically stable inebriated patients directly to the detoxification center, and the transport of medically stable psychiatric patients directly to a mental health hospital. Patients now have 16 participating alternative destinations in Washoe County.
Community Paramedicine is staffed by specially trained paramedics who evaluate patients and perform tasks under approved protocols. Patients have access to care by community paramedics after referral from a primary care physician or other referring healthcare provider. Services include Post-Hospital Discharge Patient Follow-up to help the patient follow the physician treatment plan and to provide information, education and guidance in the patient’s home; Episodic Evaluation Visit is an in-home visit that provides a primary care physician or referring healthcare provider with an in-home patient care service when there are limited resources available and an emergency department visit may not be optimal; and Hotspotter Intervention is for patients that make frequent visits to the emergency department to help them in accessing the right care or service and includes a resource plan to resolve each patient’s unmet healthcare, mental health and social service needs.