TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - More than 50,000 times in the past year, the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department made runs for emergency medical assistance, and the reality is, not all of them are emergencies.
Tuesday night, Toledo City Council approved a partnership with TFD and Mercy Health, hoping for a solution to this problem. It's called the Community Paramedicine Program.
"The fire department run volume is increasing and unsustainable. The hospital has problems with people returning to the emergency department when they don't necessarily need emergency care," said Julie Goins-Whitmore, a registered nurse and the program manager for CPP.
The legislation reads, "On an annual basis, each both TFRD and SVMMC expend a significant amount of resources transporting and caring for, those patients who do not have an emergency medical condition and who may be alternatively, but appropriately, served at their place of residence."
Some of these emergency calls have been anything such as not taking medicine to issues that require long term care.
"We are working together to keep the patients out of the hospital unnecessarily so people that don't necessarily need a trip to the ER or in an ambulance, what we want to do is get to them," said Goins-Whitmore.
A Toledo Fire Paramedic is working alongside Community Health worker from Mercy St. Vincent's Hospital who are already on staff. These two would make trips to a patients house, based on referrals from their doctors or a social worker.
The cost for this is the responsibility of each party, and no additional funding is expected. Then they would have contact with the patient, their families, and doctors making sure they have everything they need.
City leaders believe this is capable of making a huge impact.
"I think it is important that we be nimble and that we're able to respond to those accidents, and health emergencies as well as fires," said Councilwoman Sandy Spang.
"The reality is there are a lot of people that have various needs and sometimes they don't know quite how to have them met, and so all too often, they're calling 911", added Councilman Nick Komives.
Other communities have seen call volume reduced by 50 percent for the patients with this preventative measure.
Nothing shows up when or if these patients do call 911, but leaders say it's about not letting them get to that point.
"Initial impact is going to be hard to gauge when it comes to call volume, it probably won't impact it a great deal, but the room to grow in this is what we are really excited about," said Pvt. Sterling Rahe from the Toledo Fire Department.
This is a pilot program, and Mercy and TFRD leaders say in six months they will reevaluate seeing if any changes are necessary.