TELLER COUNTY — Paramedic and EMT response crews in Teller County are raising the bar on medical care for residents. Ute Pass Regional Health Service District crews are working to implement innovative ways to improve health care options for those living in the mostly rural county.
The goal is taking paramedic service beyond basic care and a fast ride to the hospital. "if you need to get the hospital we'll get you there, but if your medical condition can be treated at home then we've got lab services, we've tot ultrasound services, we've got telehealth," said Community Paramedicine, Director, James Mclaughlin. The equipment used by the service is cutting-edge high tech.
The rural nature of the county is a major driver behind the changes. "If you're an hour away from the hospital we have to be able to treat you," said Community Paramedic, Ryan Brown. Paramedics cover over 500 square miles in Teller County.
Community Paramedics travel in SUVs separate from ambulances, outfitted with high tech medical and communication equipment. They can connect with Emergency Department doctors with video conferencing and share real time information, like an ultrasound, through digital connections. "Just basic medical care that a lot of rural areas lack,” said Brown, The telehealth evaluations expedite information if it is an emergency. If it is not an emergency a treatment plan can happen without a trip to the hospital.
Paramedics also offer referrals to health care options other than hospitals. In some case the pick-up and deliver prescriptions for people unable to get them on their own.
The program is proving better for patients and more efficient for the care system. "This is a real answer to a question that a lot of agencies have had for a long time; how do you get the people the care they need where they need it," said Mclaughlin.
Teller county is one of six counties in the nation with this extensive of a rural community paramedic program. They are getting call from other rural communities wanting to know more.