New take on primary care?

California may experiment with paramedics as primary caregivers

A proposed pilot program would allow California paramedics to visit discharged patients who aren’t in need of emergency services.

The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development will decide soon whether to approve the program, dubbed “community paramedicine,” in which paramedics would function as primary care providers, according to California Healthline. Under current state law, paramedics can provide only emergency care and are limited to transporting patients to emergency departments. The pilot program would expand their scope to include making at-home visits for care and transporting patients with minor injuries or substance abuse issues to urgent care clinics.

The program aims to address overuse and misuse of the 911 system; primary care shortages; limited ability for physicians to make short-notice visits to patients at home; and a lack of options for those whose conditions don’t merit a trip to the emergency room.