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State Senator

Carlo Leone

Representing Stamford & Darien

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Leone Votes for Cost-Saving Community Paramedicine Bill

Two years after talking with Stamford paramedics about the problem, state Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) this evening voted in favor of a bill that asks a working group to create a program allowing paramedics to provide the expanded medical care to patients that they are already trained to administer, instead of just being limited to transporting patients to a hospital, as they so often do.

In 2015, Stamford paramedics testified in support of the creation of a paramedicine bill, noting that while they respond to more than 13,000 emergency calls every year, Stamford Hospital had determined that 52 percent of hospital emergency visits were either non-emergencies that could be treated by primary care physicians, or emergencies that were preventable.

“This was a Stamford-inspired piece of legislation, resulting from talks I had last year with Stamford paramedics,” said Sen. Leone. “So I’m happy to vote for legislation that allows our paramedics to provide additional services to patients who are not in need of real emergency care, but who can benefit from the paramedic’s training and experience since they are already there.”

Under current law, Connecticut’s paramedics are only paid for a call if they transport a patient to the hospital. This creates a disincentive for paramedics to provide immediate medical treatment in the home, or to do anything other than drive the patient to the emergency room. Implementing a “community paramedicine model” would fix that disincentive.

Community paramedics can provide needed primary care services, thereby reducing the unnecessary overuse of emergency room visits for patients who don’t require costly ambulance transportation; this is a problem especially for frequent 911 callers living in underserved areas.

Senate Bill 317 establishes a working group to develop recommendations that would implement a community paramedicine model, allowing paramedics to transport patients to a more appropriate destination if they determine that a hospital emergency room is not necessary.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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