MANATEE-Frequent 911 calls and hospitalizations come with a high cost for the county and the patient. Manatee County Paramedic Program Chief James Crutchfield says this program will help decrease both.

“The program is designed to augment the current health care system and fill the temporary gaps in the current health care system,” says Crutchfield.

After receiving 512, 000 from grants and separate funds to start the program, it’s been operating smoothly.

“We have been receiving patients for 10 months.  Out of those 10 months we’ve made over 1,400 patients contacts,” says Crutchfield.

Patients must meet one of the five requirements to be considered for this program.

“The community paramedic program focuses on five different sub types of patients. The first one being mental health, substance abuse, diabetic patients, respiratory patients a, frequent falls and high system utilizes, which will be the folks that use 911 and ER frequently,” says Crutchfield.

Cruthchfield says there are currently there are 59 active patients in the program and its helping combat the cost of emergency room visits through education.

“Anytime you do any type of preventive type health and you educate a patient on their medical condition. It decreases the need for an acute response. Which would be a 911 call.”

There are only 2 community paramedics covering Manatee County and Crutchfield says they work non stop.

“The supply outweighs the resources that we have available.”

As they move forward they hope to expand and care for more patients.

“To make sure every patient has  the appropriate access to health care , at the right cost at the right time,” says Crutchfield.