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Hastings-Quinte EMS house-call program still in jeopardy

By Matthew Murray [1]

BELLEVILLE – A home-care pilot program that aims to cut down on 911 calls and emergency room visits in the Belleville area faces an uncertain future.

Hastings-Quinte Emergency Services [2] kicked off the project last January. A team of paramedics go to patients’ homes to give checkups and administer medication. The 60 patients in Belleville that were chosen for the pilot project were selected based on their medical conditions and the number of 911 calls they had placed in 2014.

The project also featured a research component which would evaluate whether the home-care program has affected things such as emergency-room visits, hospital admissions and overall client health.

Carl Bowker, deputy chief of operations at Hastings-Quinte EMS, says the group has asked for a share of the ambulance fees the province collects to keep the home-care program funded. In an interview with QNet News in December [3], Bowker said the group is looking into solutions should the province refuse funding. Discussions with the South East Community Care Access Centre [4] and other community organizations began before Christmas to try and find a way to continue the program.

Funding for the program is set to end on Jan. 23.

More to come.

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