Community Paramedics Trained To Provide Patients With Mental Healthcare

Kaiser Health News (11/14, Luthra) reports on community paramedics who are trained to help “psychiatric patients in need of care avoid winding up in the emergency room, where they can get ‘boarded’ for days, until they are released or a bed frees up at an inpatient facility.” After being dispatched to a scene with a patient with a potential mental health crisis, paramedics talk to the patient about “what, precisely, the issue is, asking also about issues like a patient’s mental health history, drug use and insurance status.” The information is used to determine “the next steps for the patient — maybe it is a hospital or a psych facility, or maybe it is outpatient care.” The pilot program of specialized paramedics was launched in Modesto a year ago, and “similar projects are also underway in North Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado and Georgia.”

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— “Community Paramedics Work To Link Patients With Mental Health Care,”Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News, November 14, 2016.

Posted in In The News.