In February 2019, Healthy Peninsula and Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital (NLBHH) received a Rural Health Transformation grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) to support the Age-Friendly Coastal Communities (AFCC) Community Paramedicine Project.  This project will provide coordinated medical and social service supports to improve access to timely, coordinated care for isolated, underserved older and/or disabled patients of NLBHH’s primary care clinics who live on the Blue Hill Peninsula, Deer Isle, or Stonington.  The in-home care will be provided by trained emergency medical technicians and paramedics, as prescribed by the patients’ primary care providers, and will include services such as medication reconciliation, wound care, blood pressure checks, falls risk assessment, etc., as well as assessment and referral for connection to community-based resources.

Coordinated by Healthy Peninsula, a longtime NLBHH community health partner, the project is an innovative collaboration among NLBHH, Castine Fire Rescue Department, Memorial Ambulance Corps, Peninsula Ambulance Corps, and a network of social/community-based service providers that have been working together for several years to provide more coordinated, informed resources for healthy aging in our communities.  Both Memorial Ambulance Corps and Castine Fire Rescue Department have been providing community paramedicine services to their communities for several years.  This project will expand those services and coordinate all services across the entire peninsula and Deer Isle, adding Peninsula Ambulance Corps as the newest community paramedicine provider in the region.  In addition, the project includes a Community Health Outreach component to connect patients to community-based resources.

The project is designed to develop a streamlined, responsive system of assessment, referral, and follow up on healthcare issues, as well as issues related to social determinants of health.  The Community Health Outreach component is supported by Healthy Peninsula and the AFCC Coordinating Council, which provides a strong network of social and community-based service providers that can provide access to diverse, community-based resources.  By ensuring better connections among all levels of healthcare, the project aims to deliver cost savings to both patients and the hospital system; enhanced wellness with targeted community resources; improved access, information, and referral in the patients’ own homes, rather than requiring multiple visits to PCPs or social services; and providing information on community-based resources at a variety of levels throughout the healthcare delivery system, thus increasing the likelihood that patients will effectively access the community-based services they need.