May 28, 2019 2:43 pm

Paramedics program to prevent unnecessary ER visits to expand in Winnipeg

A paramedic on scene.

Elisha Dacey/Global News

Following a successful launch in 2013, a program that prevents unnecessary visits to local hospital emergency rooms will be expanded.

Called the Emergency Paramedics in the Community program, it allows paramedics to do early health assessments and intervention planning for people who head to emergency rooms frequently and are referred to the program.

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“Our patients are often experiencing mental health, addictions, or chronic health issues,” said spokesperson Dr. Rob Grierson. The expansion of the program will help reduce call volumes to paramedics and fewer ER visits, he added.

A second unit will be added to the team starting June 6, he said. The program currently has a single vehicle running 12 hours a day.

Since launching, more than 7,000 assessments have been done, and the group has managed more than 2,700 at-risk referrals to the program, resulting in a 56 per cent reduction in 911 calls by EPIC patients and a 62 per cent reduction in ambulance transports to ERs.

RELATED: Winnipeg paramedics attacked by patient outside HSC

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