Scottsdale Fire Department, Hospital Partnership Aims To Reduce Cost of Emergency Health Care

Published: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 5:05am
(Photo by Mariana Dale -KJZZ)
Steve Richter is a Scottsdale paramedic in the Mobile Integrated Health Progam.

Scottsdale’s Fire Department teamed up with HonorHealth two years ago to start a mobile health care unit.

The Scottsdale City Council will consider renewing the program for an additional six months on Tuesday. 

“We consider this a proactive response in that we would much rather get our team out there to evaluate and prevent further incidents,” Scottsdale Captain Paramedic Steve Richter said.

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Richter works with an HonorHealth nurse practitioner as part of the Mobile Integrated Healthcare Practice Program.

In a typical day, Richter and his HonorHealth colleague may check in on a person with a chronic illness like diabetes or evaluate a home for fall risks.

Common participants include those with chronic illnesses like congestive heart failure or pneumonia.

“Once they’ve gotten in that ambulance and gone to the ER doors, it becomes a larger crisis and then the cost of care for that patient becomes a lot higher as well,” Richter said, citing a doctor’s visit that may cost several hundred dollars versus an emergency room visit that could cost thousands of dollars.

The program is currently available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Richter said he'd like to see it expand to 24 hours a day.

A memo to Scottsdale's City Council reports 575 people have enrolled since the program began in 2015.

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