Closings and delays

Guilford County’s community paramedic program growing

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Guilford County EMS plans to add a second community paramedic to their staff, further helping patients with preventative care.

Paramedic Katie Lynch is currently their sole community paramedic assisting mostly patients with congestive heart failure issues.

“We've had almost 100 actually referred since I took over last April,” Lynch said.

Deputy Director Kyle Paschal said the success of the program is proven in their reduction of recurring hospital visits from high-risk patients.

“What we found was is once the patient was assigned our program we could reduce in hospital admission by 50 percent and we reduce emergency department visits by as much as 75 percent,” Paschal said.

While each patient is different, the paramedic usually performs medical checks and prescription assortment, answering any questions that the patient may have at the time.

A second paramedic is expected to start in January 2018. Paschal also said they will add a half position, meaning 20 hours a week of an existing paramedic will be devoted to the program.

The program is paid for fully by Cone Health and does not come from Guilford County taxpayers.

“One hundred percent funded by Cone Health currently or Triad Healthcare Network which is the collaborative that works with Cone Health,” Paschal said.

Representatives with Cone Health sent the following statement about the success and growth of the program:

"We are excited about adding additional resources. The role of these community paramedics is to help patients stay healthy at home and find the resources that they need."