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The best medicine

Regions, St. Paul Fire bring preventive care to homebound patients

Regions Hospital - Foundation - Helene Houle and John Nasseff

Caring for a complex medical condition can be a major hurdle for many patients, especially when they are recovering from a medical crisis such as a heart attack or traumatic injury. Some are overwhelmed by the wounds they must care for or the many medications they must take on a daily basis. Some patients are newly frail, making everyday household objects like electric wires a true hazard.

Without in-home assistance, many of these patients suffer additional medical emergencies that require hospital visits. Others will be moved into nursing homes. And the cost to the community for these interventions can be tremendous. Yet traditional home care is not available to everyone who could benefit from it.

That's why Regions Emergency Medical Services is using funds raised at the 2013 Wine Auction to create a new community paramedic program. Community paramedics are advanced life support personnel trained to provide non-emergency care to patients who have trouble visiting a doctor and do not qualify for traditional home care services. Community paramedics can obtain EKGs, perform physical exams, draw blood samples, educate patients on the use of medications and evaluate a home for physical hazards, all where the patients live. In this way, the program will help people live healthier, more independent lives.

John Nasseff and Helene Houle were the presenting sponsors and honorary chairs of the 2013 Wine Auction. "Regions knows that preventing medical emergencies is always the best medicine," Nasseff said.

Regions EMS works with ambulance services, fire departments, police departments and other first responder agencies across the Twin Cities East Metro and western Wisconsin to ensure they provide the best care at the point of injury or illness. Regions EMS is also a national leader in research, resulting in better first responder care.

In early 2014, Regions EMS will launch a community paramedic program in St. Paul in partnership with the city’s fire department, which will supply the community paramedics for the program. "The community paramedic program will allow patients to better care for themselves at home and reduce 911 calls and unnecessary hospital admissions. Ultimately it will reduce costs to the community, the health care system and the patient," said Tim Butler, the St. Paul Fire Chief.

"St. Paul Fire is a great partner for the community paramedic program," said R.J. Frascone, MD, medical director of Regions EMS. "Its paramedics deliver the finest care in neighborhoods and homes throughout the city. They have earned the trust and loyalty of residents."

The partnership between Regions EMS and St. Paul Fire was one of the main things that inspired Nasseff and Houle to sponsor the 2013 Wine Auction. "Regions EMS is a leader in providing medical oversight and training to first responders like those in St. Paul Fire, and St. Paul Fire brings life-saving care to community members every day," Nasseff said. "The community paramedic program takes advantage of the unique strengths of the two organizations as well as their strong history together.

"St. Paul is our home. Unique and innovative efforts like the community paramedic program make it one of the best places to live in America."