County plans to launch paramedicine program

By Chad Ingram
Published August 15 2017

The following are brief reports of items discussed during an Aug. 9 meeting of Haliburton County’s EMS advisory committee.

Haliburton County was successful in its application for funding for a community paramedicine program from the Central East Local Health Integration Network.

“The approval includes full funding of the proposed program including base funding for a full-time paramedic with full benefit coverage training and travel costs along with a small amount of one-time funding for some equipment purchases” read a report from EMS director and paramedic chief Tim Waite.

“Management are currently developing a job description and plan to train three staff to fill the role. The planned implementation date is mid- to late-October. A memorandum of understanding will have to be completed between Haliburton Highlands Health Services and the county as the funding will be received by HHHS from the LHIN and we will in turn invoice for the services we provide.”

The program whereby paramedics will visit patients in their homes will also involve working closely with HHHS’s GAIN (Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Network) team to develop patient care plans.

The county has unsuccessfully attempted a community paramedicine program once before.

Call volumes down

The volume of emergency medical calls in Haliburton County for the first six months of 2017 was down slightly from the year prior.

A report from EMS director and paramedic chief Tim Waite showed the number of calls from the beginning of January through the end of June was 3047. This is down slightly from 3070 calls during the same period in 2016.

In general the number of calls the county’s EMS department receives increases year over year.

Councillors suggested the reason for the slight drop could be because of fewer people in the county this summer due to rainy weather.

The county’s paramedics are meeting or exceeding their 2017 response time goals with the exception of sudden cardiac arrests where the goal is to be on scene within six minutes at least 20 per cent of the time.

The percentage so far for the year is 17 per cent of the time.

“Due to the geography and distances that ambulances have to respond in the county obtaining a six-minute response is extremely difficult” Waite’s report read.