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Pilot Courses in Community Paramedicine Offered

Waubonsee Community College will soon offer an innovative pilot program that will introduce hospitals, emergency agencies, paramedics, and students to the field of community paramedicine. This new field is part of the mobile integrated health care initiative, which is a new local, state, and national initiative designed to provide better healthcare to patients while they are in the community.

Community paramedicine, which is a part of the mobile integrated health initiative supported by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the Illinois Department of Public Health, is the use of patient-centered, mobile resources for patients’ healthcare needs once they leave the hospital. It may include, but is not limited to: providing telephone advice to 9-1-1 callers instead of dispatching providers, providing follow-up services in the community by trained paramedics, chronic disease management, preventative care, or post-discharge follow up visits to the patient’s home. The goal of such services is to prevent patients from being re-admitted to the hospital.

While mobile integrated health care is new in Illinois, it has been used for some time in other states.

Within Waubonsee’s district, mobile integrated healthcare is on the verge of becoming a basic standard of the health care profession. Sherman Hospital in Elgin recently became the first hospital in the state approved to offer mobile integrated health care.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) approved a curriculum framework in May of 2015 which provides curriculum for a 16-hour course as a Community Paramedic. Waubonsee will be the first in the area to offer the IDPH-approved framework curriculum.

To fund the pilot, Waubonsee received a grant from Telligen Community Initiative, which will provide funding to provide an introductory course, EMT100 Community Paramedic, without cost to interested students. Nurses, paramedics, hospital administrators, and current paramedic students and Emergency Medical Technician – Basic students are encouraged to attend.

Additionally, this grant will provide funding to equip the Waubonsee ambulance to practice scenarios.

“We are pleased to support one of the first programs in Illinois that will provide unique, specialized training for current and future paramedics – those vital first responders in our communities,” said Matt McGarvey, executive director of Telligen Community Initiative. “Through a collaborative effort, the mobile integrated health care curriculum will bring many resources together and significantly improve community-based patient care.”

Dr. Michelle Evans, Waubonsee Assistant Dean for Health Professions and Public Service, said that Waubonsee has applied to the IDPH to offer continuing education units for licensed paramedics, which would open the door for the college to work more closely with local employers to offer community paramedic training to their employees.