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Community Paramedicine Program Reduces ER Visits for BCBSNM Medicaid Members

Jun. 02, 2017

Albuquerque, NM — The Community Paramedicine Program at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) has helped more than 1,100 Medicaid members reduce emergency room visits and ambulance use. Since the program launch in January 2016, BCBSNM has seen almost a 62 percent reduction in emergency room use and a 63 percent reduction in ambulance use by members in the program. BCBSNM estimates the program has avoided $1.7 million in medical costs for the state’s Medicaid program.

With the Community Paramedicine program, BCBSNM helps direct members to the right care at the right time and in the right setting for better health outcomes. Community paramedics go into the patients’ homes to check on their overall health and medications, take vital signs, and provide home healthy safety checks.

"Through the Community Paramedicine program we have found that a face-to-face visit with the patient is a better way to reach this vulnerable population," said Kerry Clear, community service manager, BCBSNM. "The results of the program are impressive from a business point of view, but more importantly we are addressing the health needs of our members for improved health outcomes."

The program focuses on high utilizers of emergency service uses, recently hospital discharged patients or members with chronic diseases. The program provides education and information to help direct these members to the most appropriate care for their unique situation.

The Community Paramedicine program is currently operating in Albuquerque, Belen, Rio Rancho, Las Cruces and Alamogordo. Plans are underway to extend the program to other areas of New Mexico. BCBSNM is currently contracted with Albuquerque Ambulance, American Medical Response (AMR) Ambulance, and Rio Rancho Fire Department to provide the paramedics for the program.