“Collaborative Health” Program Hopes to Encourage Others in Colorado

Apr 18, 2016 by

Collaborative Health is a new community paramedicine program supported by the Grand River Health Hospital and Colorado River Fire Rescue in Garfield County, Colorado. The name is telling; many CP programs require a certain amount of organizational collaboration, but this direct partnership between a hospital and a EMS service provider allows more thorough communication, so that the program can serve patients effectively. Though they have already started home health evaluations for some of the hospital’s consenting “frequent flier” patients, Collaborative Health also has a broader mission; they hope to collaborate with other CP programs across the state in order to gain momentum towards better community paramedicine legislation.

Though many people are working together to move this program forward, there is still a big question as to their longterm success: funding. A special task force created by the State Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Advisory Council in January 2015 reported that “funding for community integrated healthcare services is a significant concern.” In most states (including Colorado), private insurers and Medicaid do not reimburse community paramedics because laws guiding these payments are not comprehensive, or don’t exist yet. Many of the programs are therefore funded by grants or even run mostly by volunteers, which may not be sustainable longterm.

Collaborative Health’s creators are trying to think about the big picture — if these types of innovative health programs become more widespread across the state, each localized healthcare system can learn from each other, and perhaps push together for better reimbursement guidelines statewide. They themselves were inspired by the successes of Eagle County’s CP program (read more here and here). Eagle County’s initiative was mostly funded by grant money for the first three years, but was recognized as such a useful and cost-effective service that it is now completely funded by the health service district. The Collaborative Health team is actively engaged with eight other Colorado CP programs, in order to raise awareness of the possibilities of community paramedicine healthcare delivery.

Read more about Garfield County’s CP initiative here, and make sure to join NYMIHA for the latest news in mobile integrated healthcare.

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