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2013-03-07 digital edition

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2013-03-07 / Community News

The Best Medicine

When Washington County EMS Director Kevin Deramus ran the numbers at the end of 2011, it was clear something had to change. More than 1,200 of the 5,000 emergency calls his paramedics received came from a mere 380 patients, many of whom would have been better served by their primary care physician or a walk-in clinic.

One elderly patient called the EMS 11 times for transport to his medical appointments in Houston, at a whopping $38,000 price tag for taxpayers.

Seeing an opportunity to better target health care and increase efficiency, Deramus and Washington County Medical Director Robert Stark visited their most frequent patient at home to forge a personal connection, then followed up with monthly visits. Deramus offered the gentleman advice and found him a ride to his doctor’s appointments.

Aiming to build on that success, Washington County has enrolled nine veteran emergency paramedics in an advanced community paramedic class certified through Blinn College’s Office of Workforce Education.

The course merges preventative and emergency medicine. Students learn which medical situations require urgent care and which scenarios need education and information-but not an ambulance.

For more information on this and other unique offerings at Blinn College, visit their website at www.blinn.edu/news/news.html

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