Community Health EMS

New Options for Better Health:

For medical emergencies, people in rural areas dial 9-1-1 for EMTs and ambulance crews. First responders know their communities and they know how to help. They also have the potential to do much more for rural residents—who often live too far from basic health services.

That’s the idea behind the Community Paramedic Program. It brings more health care services to people in rural and remote areas by adding to the skills of emergency medical professionals. 


When not responding to emergencies, Community Paramedics can help people manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and prevent disease and illness through immunizations and screenings. They can provide information and counseling about ways to care for themselves and their families.


What is community paramedicine and how can this type of program benefit rural communities?

Paramedics and EMTs in rural communities are trusted and respected for their medical expertise and are often consulted for healthcare advice by their friends and neighbors. The skills they develop in their role as first responders can be equally useful to them as providers of primary care. For example, the technique used to administer an injection in an emergency situation is also used for routine inoculations.


What is the role of a community paramedic?

Community paramedics function as fully participating members of a patient's medical home care team. As first responders, EMTs and paramedics are trained to focus primarily on managing a patient's emergency condition over 30 to 60 minutes. To participate effectively in the medical home care team, they need additional education focused on providing longer term care.


How are rural community paramedicine programs funded?

Most community paramedicine programs are funded by the ambulance service itself or through grants.