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Blackfoot starts community paramedic program

The Blackfoot Fire Department wants to keep you out of the hospital. They have a new set of graduates for their Community Paramedic program.

The Community Paramedic program started in Ada County and made it’s way to Blackfoot.

“It has some goals. They want to try and keep people out of the 9-1-1 system and also out of the er if we can. There’s always emergencies that need to go to the er but for example, if someone is admitted to the er and released we can meet with them to help them stay at home instead of being re-admitted to the ER,” says Patrick Park, Community Paramedic.

“The insurance companies started to buy in to that this was something to help keep people out of the hospitals, to help reduce insurance cost and that sort of thing so through some grant funding we were one of the first ones on the east side of the state here to be able to do that,” says Andy Stewart, Community Paramedic.

Instead of coming in the ambulance, they have their own, smaller designated car.

“We can help them in their homes, they don’t have to take a trip to the hospital to be evaluated, we can give them education in their homes that they might not be able to obtain on their own,” says Park.

Ada County has also seen good things on the behavioral side of things.

“To respond with police and be able to either help talk a suicidal subject down or rather than going through the hospital to be admitted into a behavioral health unit but they’re able to do that out on the city street and eliminate that time,” says Stewart.

They’re trying to find their place in this new program, but they say it looks promising.

“Trying to see how we fit in with the post hospital discharge and home health nursing is kind of a difficult track to navigate but it’s starting to build up.”

They say they have gone to some homes. If you would like them to stop by your home, you can consult with your family physician or call the fire department at 208-785-8605.

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