Emergency Medical Services

Emergency Medical Services

Emergency Medical Service agencies in Allegheny County are facing a dire funding crisis. In 2010, this funding crisis led CONNECT to bring together EMS partners to research the crisis and potential funding models to develop a solution. That year, CONNECT released a report by City Controller Michael Lamb highlighting the challenges facing the 17 EMS providers in CONNECT called Critical Condition: The EMS Crisis in Pittsburgh and its Neighboring Communities. The report identified many of the issues facing our EMS providers and since then, CONNECT has been working with the Allegheny County EMS Council, UPMC, Highmark and other regional partners to address those issues.

The CONNECT Community Paramedic Program

Launched in 2013 through a partnership of CONNECT, UPMC’s Center for Emergency Medicine and the Allegheny County EMS Council with funding from UPMC and Highmark, the CONNECT Community Paramedic Program provides customized care to Allegheny County residents who are struggling to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. The goal of this program is to determine the impact of an EMS-based community health initiative on healthcare costs and to determine quality metrics by calculating the projected savings, gaps in care or social support, and health related quality of life for patients receiving the intervention when compared to their historical use or published data for similar populations.

As of July of 2016, more than 280 people have been enrolled in the Program and more than $1.8 million in net savings has been realized by the hospital system. Read the full CONNECT Community Paramedic Status Report (Quarterly Update) here, or click on the image to the right.

Demonstrated program benefits include:

  • Decreased emergency department and EMS utilization by high-risk members of UPMC and Highmark
  • More effective use of limited EMS resources allowing more timely response to critical responses
  • Better coordinated care between local social service agencies for high-risk clients.
  • Better care and follow-up services for patients who frequently rely on Emergency Department service

More data on the pilot program will be available soon. CONNECT is currently working with partners to secure long-term Program design and funding. Click here to view the most recent CPP Quarterly Update.

For more information about the Program, contact Program Director Dan Swayze at dswayze@statmedevac.com or Kristen Michaels at kmaser@pitt.edu.

Click here for a full list of all resolutions passed by CONNECT that relate to our EMS work.

 Follow the CONNECT Community Paramedic Program on social media!