NFD Launches Community Paramedicine Training

Nogales Fire Department Partnering with
Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center

With support from Santa Cruz Community Foundation

Frontera 2014 w/Nogales FD

The Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) and the Nogales Fire Department (NFD) developed The Arizona Community Integrated Paramedic Pilot Project (CIPP) to improve community health outcomes through reducing non-emergency use of the 911 system. These reductions are being implemented through using the department’s 911 call data to gain insight into community health education needs and to train staff and allocate resources to meet those needs.

It is hoped that community health outcomes will be positively impacted by reducing hospital emergency department (ED) visits by chronic disease sufferers, lowering admission to hospital emergency rooms for high utilization users of the 911 system, and by reducing readmission in the selected population with chronic diseases and other issues which can be reduced through educational interventions.

SEAHEC and partner NFD were awarded a small grant from the Santa Cruz Community Foundation in August 2014. In September, 2014 SEAHEC contracted two public health students to help the NFD develop a system for analyzing the data from 911 calls. Records from calls that occurred in 2013 and 2014 were used to look for patterns of 911 system utilization, including the relationships between chronic diseases and other non-emergency cases and requests for emergency medical services.

Analysis of call data revealed health needs including: Diabetes (35% of calls and the largest number of repeat users of 911 services); Hypertension (25% of calls); Congestive Heart Failure (4% of calls); Mental Health issues (12%); Elderly Falls (7%); Asthma (6%); and International Border Wall Falls (3%). Two percent of calls were responding to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Based on this initial analysis, we believe that many 911 calls may be addressed by health education interventions and appropriate referrals to community services.

The preliminary results show that chronic disease sufferers, and those with unmet health needs are using the 911 system for non-emergency health interventions that could be better addressed through education, prevention, and referral to appropriate services. With new capacity to analyze their own data, the department now has the ability to target both staff training/resource allocation and community education efforts to where they are most needed.

SEAHEC has designed a Community Paramedicine Continuing Education plan and the Nogales Fire Department will launch training in June. Furthermore, NFD and SEAHEC will coordinate training efforts and strategies with Rio Rico Fire, which was just awarded a federal grant for a three year program for Community Integrated Paramedicine. Through collaboration and coordination, our efforts will go farther and improve health outcomes in Santa Cruz County.

SEAHEC and the Nogales Fire Department would like to thank the Santa Cruz Community Foundation for their support in helping us improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our community resources and we look forward to the positive outcomes in our community.

Gail E Emrick, MPH, Executive Director, SEAHEC gemrick@seahec.org www.seahec.org

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