Mayor Elorza, Commissioner Paré and health care partners announce Providence Fire Department Mobile Health Unit
Providence, RI: Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Commissioner of Public Safety Steven M. Paré, Providence Fire Department Chief of Emergency Medical Services Zachariah Kenyon, President and CEO Peter Marino (Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island) and CEO Merrill Thomas (Providence Community Health Center) gathered this afternoon at the PCHC Express Clinic, 355 Prairie Avenue, to announce the launch of Providence Fire Departments Mobile Health Unit Initiative.
“As communities across the country continue to struggle with effective use of their local 911 system, Providence is leading the way in innovative solutions that meet the healthcare needs of our residents,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “The PFD Mobile Health Unit ensures that every resident continues to receive quality care in their time of need, while alleviating an overwhelmed EMS system. I am grateful for the partnership of Neighborhood Health Plan of RI and the Providence Community Health in supporting this critical resource.”
In collaboration with Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island (NHPRI) the Providence Fire Department has launched the Mobile Health Unit, a program for low acuity or basic life support (BLS) calls for service. The goal of this new initiative is to more effectively provide the appropriate care and resources to patients by transporting them to a primary care provider, diverting BLS calls from the emergency room. Annually, the Providence Fire Department responds to 33,000 medical aid calls for service, of which 7,500 are dispatched as basic life support and approximately 14,000 are transported and billed as BLS calls.
In a 24 hour period, the PFD averages 39 BLS calls. The Mobile Health Unit provides patients who are suffering from a non-life threatening illness or injury to receive improved, personalized care while at the same time allowing the rescues throughout the city to respond to severe, life-threatening, emergencies.
“The Mobile Health Unit was established through our strategic community partnerships within the healthcare community to deliver the best health care possible to patients in need,” said Chief Kenyon. “I thank Neighborhood Health for generously donating the vehicle for the Mobile Health Unit and also Providence Community Health for being the first provider in this important program. In the short time the Mobile Health Unit has been operational, it has already proven to be a successful tool that will improve our patient care and Emergency Medical Services throughout the City.”
“Neighborhood is proud to partner with our friends at the Providence Community Health Center and the Providence Fire Department to make the communities we all serve healthier and safer.” said Peter Marino, President and CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island. “The Mobile Health Initiative is an innovative approach to address the needs of Providence residents while ensuring they are receiving care in the appropriate setting.”
Providence Fire Department Lieutenants Stephany Blackwell and Cameron Moquin are assigned to the Mobile Health Unit, working 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. Since the launch of this program in late August, the Mobile Health Unit has responded to assist roughly 100 patients, 31% have been diverted to the Express Clinic on Prairie Avenue and 9% were treated at home by PFD personnel.