County plans to launch paramedicine program in October
By Chad Ingram
Published Aug. 15, 2017
The following are brief reports of items discussed during an Aug. 9 meeting of Haliburton County’s EMS advisory committee.
Haliburton County was successful in its application for funding for a community paramedicine program from the Central East Local Health Integration Network.
“The approval includes full funding of the proposed program, including base funding for a full-time paramedic with full benefit coverage, training and travel costs along with a small amount of one-time funding for some equipment purchases,” read a report from EMS director and paramedic chief Tim Waite.
“Management are currently developing a job description and plan to train three staff to fill the role. The planned implementation date is mid- to late-October. A memorandum of understanding will have to be completed between Haliburton Highlands Health Services and the county as the funding will be received by HHHS from the LHIN and we will, in turn, invoice for the services we provide.”
The program, whereby paramedics will visit patients in their homes, will also involve working closely with HHHS’s GAIN (Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Network) team to develop patient care plans.
The county has unsuccessfully attempted a community paramedicine program once before.
Call volumes down
The volume of emergency medical calls in Haliburton County for the first six months of 2017 was down slightly from the year prior.
A report from EMS director and paramedic chief Tim Waite showed the number of calls from the beginning of January through the end of June was 3,047. This is down slightly from 3,070 calls during the same period in 2016.
In general, the number of calls the county’s EMS department receives increases year over year.
Councillors suggested the reason for the slight drop could be because of fewer people in the county this summer, due to rainy weather.
The county’s paramedics are meeting or exceeding their 2017 response time goals, with the exception of sudden cardiac arrests, where the goal is to be on scene within six minutes at least 20 per cent of the time.
The percentage so far for the year is 17 per cent of the time.
“Due to the geography and distances that ambulances have to respond in the county, obtaining a six-minute response is extremely difficult,” Waite’s report read.
Transfers to Ross Memorial
A new system in place for the transfer of patients to Lindsay’s Ross Memorial Hospital for CT scans seems to be saving time and money for both the hospital and the county’s paramedic services.
“A large percentage of patients requiring CT scans are transferred to Ross Memorial Hospital,” read a report from EMS director and paramedic chief Tim Waite. “In the past we have requested escorts whenever possible due to wait times at the receiving hospital and the possibility of being required to respond on an emergency call in Lindsay. As per our deployment plan, our practice is to wait up to 60 minutes before we have to return to Haliburton County. In many cases an escort does not accompany the patient as there is not one available at the time of transfer. This can place the transferring crew in the position of waiting longer than 60 minutes. Dr. Bruno Helt has worked with all departments including the radiologists who read the results of the CT, the diagnostic imaging department, the emergency department and the Haliburton County Paramedic Service on the attached algorithm to expedite HHHS patients receiving a CT and returning them to Haliburton County without sending an escort with the patient.
“The algorithm has only been in place a few weeks but early reports from crews indicate that they are in fact receiving expedited service and are mobile back to Haliburton within the 60-minute window. Any difficulties or concerns that are experienced by crews are reported to me and I then contact Dr. Helt directly to resolve the issue. If we experience continued success as this is fully implemented, it could result in efficiencies and financial savings for the hospital and the paramedic service.”