The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging communities to adopt new models of care to conserve scarce inpatient resources. Some communities across the United States have responded by leveraging community paramedics, an existing workforce that is well-positioned to provide services in community-based settings. Community paramedics receive additional training beyond requirements for licensure as a paramedic which prepares them to provide services that extend beyond paramedics’ traditional roles of assessing patients on scene and transporting them to an emergency department. Their training typically emphasizes identifying and addressing patients’ social needs as well as their medical needs. The project will produce an issue brief that describes roles that community paramedics can play in testing, assessing, and monitoring people with COVID-19 that can help communities better utilize scarce inpatient care resources. The issue brief will draw upon examples of communities across the United States in which community paramedics are playing key roles in combatting the pandemic.
UCSF HWRC authors Janet Coffman, PhD, and Lisel Blash, MA have published their report Utilization of Community Paramedics to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Communities across the United States have utilized community paramedics to provide a wide range of services related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including administering tests, staffing quarantine and isolation sites, monitoring and caring for patients in their homes, and providing vaccinations to homebound persons. The feasibility of implementing these models in additional communities depending on multiple factors, including ability to recruit and retain sufficient staff to both provide these services and respond to 911 calls in a timely manner.