Community Paramedic Program extended in SD&G

(Newswatch Group/File)

SD&G – A program which sees local paramedics make house calls to at-risk patients will continue in SD&G until the end of March 2016.

The Community Paramedic Program, focusing on seniors and people with chronic conditions, was slated to run out of provincial government funding at the end of October.

But EMS Chief Myles Cassidy told Cornwall Newswatch the program hasn’t spent all the money allotted so it will continue for a few more months.

“We have under spent that budget and we have been given permission from the province to continue with the program until those funds are exhausted,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy said there’s about $100,000 left in the budget. There’s no indication from the Ontario Ministry of Health whether the program will continue. The province’s fiscal year ends March 31.

The chief indicated the program has had a phenomenal response.

“Virtually (from) the beginning of it, it’s been booked solid. There are people waiting for the service. The health links committee and the service managers joint liaison committee, have both sent letters of support to the minister of health.”

SD&G is one of 30 Ontario communities taking part in the Community Paramedic Program, which started January 2015.

The pilot program was created with a goal to reduce return visits to the hospital ER and the added workload for paramedics to take them there.

There are 11 SD&G paramedics trained and roughly eight or nine do a collective total of 40 hours per week.

“It’s exciting…it’s really good,” Chief Cassidy said.

Editor’s Note: During this recent interview, EMS Chief Myles Cassidy also wanted to draw attention to a change in his uniform. He was wearing pink epaulettes in support of breast cancer research.

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