Citizens Memorial Hospital | Vitality | Summer 2023 5 CMH’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) program is a step closer to full implementation, with the graduation of the first cohort of community paramedics in April. “Having many of our paramedics also licensed as community paramedics gives us depth and flexibility within our EMS services,” says Theron Becker, EMS education program director. “The community paramedic class training is helpful to all paramedics working in any situation.” The next step in program implementation is securing the necessary medical equipment and vehicles. As nonemergency providers, community paramedics will drive SUVs rather than ambulances. However, supply chain issues are delaying the delivery of some of the equipment by months. “We hoped to launch the program on June 1, but we may not have the necessary equipment by then,” says Aaron Weaver, director of CMH EMS. WHAT MIH DOES The MIH program provides inhome, nonemergency care to highrisk patients through community CMH NEWS Bolivar High School Health Occupation students Saige Butler, Jennie Yeargain and Savanah Williamson graduated from the emergency medical technician program at CMH during their senior year of high school. First community paramedic class graduates from CMH Students in the first graduating class of community paramedics at CMH are, from left, Ryan McDonald, Morgan Young, Allison Cantrell, Tom Liberty, Goldie Masters, Michael Ruff, William Walker and Zane Gore, with Theron Becker, instructor. paramedics, who are trained to provide in-home assessment and treatment for patients. Community paramedics work jointly with an integrative care team to coordinate referrals, connect patients to community resources and assist in telehealth access. “We’re trying to keep hospital re-admissions down,” Weaver says. “Knowledge is power. We will reeducate patients after discharge to make sure they understand what they are supposed to be doing. We hope to free up space in the emergency department for the most critically ill patients.” MIH also focuses on prevention. When community paramedics visit a home, they can look for and correct safety hazards, such as loose rugs or a slippery bathtub surface. They can ensure that patients are using home medical equipment correctly. They also can help facilitate telehealth visits with medical professionals. “Maybe they don’t have Wi-Fi or are scared of technology,” Becker says. “We can help them overcome those barriers to access medical care.” CMH received more than $1.84 million in grant funding in 2022 to build and implement the MIH program. This could be you! If you are in high school or college or looking for a career change, consider becoming an EMT. Call 417-328-6355 to learn how.