EMS, paramedic care at home under new law

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- 19 bills signed into law Monday by Governor Walker, one of which, looking to cut down on healthcare costs by allowing paramedics and EMT responders to make non-emergency house calls.

“This all started because of medical services that weren't available in rural areas,” says State Senator Terry Moulton, who co-author of the bill.

The bill passed both legislative chambers with unanimous bipartisan support before heading to the governor’s desk.

“Basically what it does is create a community medical services program which allows hospitals, EMS providers, and ambulance service providers can provide non-emergency services outside of the hospital setting, outside of a clinic setting in the patients home,” says Moulton.

Moulton says the house calls would lower health care costs significantly.

“You look at your most common repeat customers that we have that we might go out to a couple of times a week and visit them for an intoxication, drug use, people who are just not taking care of themselves and then we take them to the hospital. If we identify them, then we can go out and help them with home healthcare or a county health problem or whatever and develop a care plan to keep them and make them healthier,” says Eau Claire Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Jon Schultz, who explains the plan is a step in the right direction.

“We wouldn't have the cost of the call. We wouldn't have the cost of taking an ambulance out. We wouldn't be taking two paramedics out. You'd maybe put one paramedic or EMT on a van with a bag and some charting material to go out a visit this person,” says Schultz.

“These frequent flyers that end up in the emergency room now can be treated probably at home in non- emergency situations that end up in the hospital. If we can prevent some of those situations, we'll reduce costs significantly,” says Moulton.

Now that the bill has been signed by the governor it will need to go before the Department of Health Services where specific rules will be written. It will also determine if specific training is needed for paramedics.

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