Today, some Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems have evolved from responding solely to medical emergencies but also are able to provide an additional broad range of mobile health and clinical services. EMS professionals are now serving as the safety net for patients with chronic conditions who lack reliable and responsive primary care.
EMS professionals are addressing chronic health problems before they become emergencies. This can include transporting patients with less acute problems to an urgent care clinic or to a physician’s offices as opposed to just going to an emergency room.
Related challenges and opportunities for the future of EMS and the enhancement of paramedic services are being tested in models supported through the CMS Innovation Center’s Health Care Innovations Awards program.
For example, the City of Mesa Fire and Medical Department in Arizona received a Health Care Innovation Award (Round Two) for $12,515,727 titled “Community Care Response Initiative”. The model is working to reduce high-risk patients from returning to the hospital, and also working to manage and treat low-acuity patients from using the 911 system and the emergency department.
The “Community Care Response Initiative” consists of four units operating 24/7 365 days per year. The physician extender unit complete with a modified ambulance, enables the team to perform low acuity services or post discharge follow-up with services similar to services provided by urgent care.
Another project for $9,619,517 awarded through the CMS Innovation Center taking place at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, is titled “Bundled Payment for Mobile Acute Care Team Services”
This program is testing Mobile Acute Care Team (MACT) Services to address acute care needs in an outpatient setting. MACT is based on the hospital-at-home model that treats patients requiring hospital admission for selected conditions at home.
The core MACT team provides community-based radiology, lab services, nursing services, durable medical equipment, pharmacy, infusion services, telemedicine, and interdisciplinary post-acute care services for 30 days after admission. After 30 days, the team will ensure a safe transition back to community providers and provide referrals to appropriate services.
Go to https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/participant/Health-Care-Innovation-Awards-RoundTwo/City-of-Mesa-Fire-and -Medical-Department.html for a more information on the Community Care Response Initiative.
Go to https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/participant/Health-Care-Innovation-Awards-Round-Two/Icahn-School-Of-Medicine-At-Mount-Sinai.html for information on the Bundled Payment for Mobile Acute Care Team Services.