Residents within the distant city of Jackman, with fewer than 800 residents and situated an hour’s drive from the closest hospital, have entry to emergency medical care in a single day now with the assistance of on-site paramedics and physicians at a Bangor hospital.
By means of a brand new program launched in April, on-call paramedics can present care to folks experiencing medical emergencies outdoors of enterprise hours on the solely clinic within the space with the assistance of docs within the emergency room of St. Joseph Hospital, greater than 100 miles away in Bangor.
It’s a setup that may guarantee folks in a distant a part of Maine, lower than 20 miles from the Canadian border, have entry to medical care in any respect hours, typically saving them prolonged and costly ambulance rides to the closest hospital both in Skowhegan or Greenville. This system additionally has the potential to be replicated in different distant components of the state and nation. Different distant communities in Maine and the U.S. have already proven some curiosity in it.
This system is a collaboration involving Penobscot Group Well being Care, which runs the Jackman Group Well being Middle; the city of Jackman; St. Joseph Hospital; and Northeast Cellular Well being Companies, an ambulance service.
In the course of the day, the native clinic operates as a major care supplier. After hours, skilled paramedics work on-call to evaluate, deal with and launch individuals who need assistance however don’t have to go to the hospital, based on Rick Petrie, chief operations officer of North East Cellular Well being Companies and director of the Jackman challenge. Petrie additionally serves as one of many paramedics in this system when mandatory.
“We have to proceed to evolve the well being care system and discover extra environment friendly and cost-effective methods to obtain and search care,” mentioned Daybreak Cook dinner, vice chairman and chief operations officer for Bangor-based PCHC. “The outdated system isn’t sustainable and creates disparities amongst rural and concrete sufferers.”
Because the program launched, the 5 paramedics concerned have addressed about 120 sufferers each throughout enterprise hours and after-hours.
“Within the first month, 54 p.c of the time we had been capable of deal with a affected person and ship them house with out transporting them to a hospital,” Petrie mentioned.
When a paramedic assesses a affected person within the clinic, they’re aided by an emergency room doctor in Bangor utilizing videoconferencing and gear that permits the doctor to see and listen to precisely what the paramedic does. For instance, the paramedics can use an otoscope with bluetooth, so after they look in an individual’s ears, the doctor in Bangor can see what the paramedic sees.
“The paramedic in that occasion turns into the eyes, fingers and ears of the ER doctor,” Cook dinner mentioned.
Paramedics may suture and gown deep wounds, use ultrasound and distribute drugs permitted by a distant doctor.
For extra urgent accidents and illnesses, Petrie mentioned sufferers can nonetheless be dropped at the clinic to be assessed and given preliminary therapy if potential whereas preparations are made to convey them to a hospital.
If somebody breaks an arm, for instance, a paramedic can put the arm in a brief splint and provides ache treatment, however the affected person would wish to go to a hospital to obtain an x-ray, surgical procedure and a solid if mandatory.
The power to obtain rapid take care of even low-stakes emergencies can save sufferers from simply avoidable damaging outcomes, akin to an extended hospital keep, Cook dinner mentioned.
Earlier than this program existed, Jackman residents obtained around-the-clock care by the clinic from one PCHC physician and three medical assistants.
“We knew this wasn’t sustainable for his or her existence or financially,” Cook dinner mentioned.
Whereas there aren’t any plans to recreate this program elsewhere, Petrie mentioned different distant communities in Maine and the western U.S. have contacted him to ask about this system.
“The fantastic thing about that is it may develop or contract primarily based on want and will be moved to rural, underserved areas,” he mentioned. “I’m actually excited and I believe there’s an outstanding quantity of potential.”