MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - 911 calls for non-emergency situations, that's what the Midland Fire Department is trying to prevent, and they've done so with the Community Healthcare Paramedic Program.
"Now we're proactively going out and visiting folks we've enrolled in the program to help them manage their health, so that they are less likely to use the 911 system and make a visit to the E.R.," said Robert W. Isbell, Fire Chief for the Midland Fire Department.
The program is made up of nine paramedics that make home visits to nearly 20 residents in need of healthcare.
"There's a huge need for this in our community right now," said Kris Hickman, a Fire Fighter Paramedic for the Midland Fire Department.
The program was created because the fire department was getting a high number of 911 calls for minor situations, putting a strain on their emergency response resources.
"We've seen great success in the program so far. We seen as much as a 78 percent reduction in emergency room visits. We've seen as much as a 82 percent reduction in 911 calls and ambulances being dispatched," said Isbell.
21 patients were enrolled in the program when it first created. Together they had called 911 more than 100 times in a sixth month period. They have now graduated from the Community Healthcare Paramedic Program. Isbell says the program has proven to be successful in more ways than expected.
"The really heartwarming thing out of this is that there relationships being made now between the community and our paramedics that are very strong," said Isbell.
"You become emotionally attached to them as if they were your own family. There is a great sense of worth to what we're doing right now," said Hickman.