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How many of us do our share of volunteering? As I look around our communities, I see many people who are doing things and helping people without pay. They volunteer at school, church, scouts, 4-H, summer recreation programs, but the most visible are those who serve with the local ambulance and fire service.
If you are looking for some outlet for your energy, give one of those emergency services a call and join in to help out.
I came across a piece about a new Medicare payment model sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Richard McCarty, Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government Foundation wrote this piece. I would like to reprint part of it for your information.
“Under President Trump, the HHS has been busy: approving record numbers of generic drugs, working to increase affordable health insurance options, working to require more transparency in drug pricing, working to defund abortion facilities, protecting the right to conscience, and defunding research using tissue from aborted babies. Now, HHS is creating a new Medicare payment model that supports community paramedicine; this support has been sought by the emergency medical services (EMS) industry for years.
“For those unfamiliar with community paramedicine, it expands the role of paramedics in health care resulting in better, faster care for patients and reduced costs for both patients and taxpayers. With an aging population, rising health care costs, and doctor and nursing shortages, it is vital that medical resources be allocated and care delivered in an efficient manner, and community paramedicine does just that.
“Starting next year, HHS will begin paying participating ambulance providers to take Medicare patients to their doctor’s office or to an urgent care center, to treat them at home, or even to provide telehealth if that is medically appropriate and allowed by state laws. (An example of telehealth would be a doctor evaluating a patient who is located hundreds of miles away using a Smartphone and secure videoconference technology. This new payment model encourages paramedics to check up on forgetful patients to see if they have taken their medications, to help patients who have fallen and to locate tripping hazards in their homes, and to help asthma patients avoid things that trigger attacks, all of which helps reduce the likelihood of a patient needing to visit the emergency room.
“The current Medicare regulations that allow payment for ambulance services only when patients are taken to the hospital, a skilled nursing facility, to a dialysis center have encouraged wasteful spending. Patients have long been transported to the emergency room regardless of whether that was the most appropriate place to treat them. In addition to being wasteful, emergency departments have been needlessly strained and treatment has been delayed for patients. A nationwide study in 2013 estimated that 17 percent of all ambulance transports were medically unnecessary. Furthermore, the overutilization of emergency rooms was estimated in 2010 to cost about $38 billion each year.”
I can remember when doctors made house calls. We have a picture postcard that was taken on First Street in Glenwood City in the early nineteen hundreds of Dr. Beebe in his new Cadillac car, which was no more than a seat and a steering wheel that he used to travel around the countryside calling on patients. Later, if an ambulance was needed, it was more than likely the hearse from the local funeral home. If you remember watching the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police Station, back in 1963, he was transported to the hospital in a Ford station wagon with a red light on top.
How we have progressed. I can remember the first ambulance that Glenwood City received almost fifty years ago. They got a $5,000 grant from the federal government and spent $5,000 of city money to purchase the unit. Now days that ten thousand will probably not even pay for the lights and siren on a new rig.
Volunteers are needed, so get at it and if you are wondering how much money it takes to provide this needed service to the community, I made of couple of calls for that information. The total budgeted expenses for 2019 with the Glenwood City ambulance is $181,909; Boyceville, $466,372 and Colfax is at $464,189.
Thanks for reading! ~Carlton