Frederick County Council Receives Update On Mobile Community Healthcare Program

It was established almost four  years ago.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – An update was provided on Tuesday night to the Frederick County Council on the Mobile Community Healthcare program. It was established in 2018 to connect patients with the health care they need so they don’t call 911 for non-emergencies, or make use of the hospital emergency room for regular health care.

“Through the help and guidance of our Mobile Community Health program, and our allied partners, we’ve been able to connect members of our public to the appropriate care to better treat their medical ailments and reduce the strain on our emergency medical services system,” says Chief Tom Coe with the County’s Division of Fire and Rescue Services.

The Mobile Community Healthcare program is a partnership between the Division of Fire and Rescue Services, the County Health Department and Frederick Health Hospital.

The County also says this program is designed to deliver the right health care to patients at the right time. It does not replace a patient’s need for primary health care or the roles of clinicians. But works   with the patient’s health care team so  existing care is implemented and maintained, and supports clinicians with enhances assessments and individualized home  patient care, according to the Division of Fire and Rescue Services’  website.

Matthew Burgan, a Paramedic III with the Division of Fire and Rescue Services, says the program made 558 referrals last year for 322 patients. He also says part of his job is to do home safety checks. “Easiest way to avoid the  emergency is to prevent in the first place,:” Burgan says. “Wellness checks, slip, trip and fall hazard identification and correction, smoke detector installation are components of our home safety review that we conduct with the folks we encounter.”

Anyone who wants to make a referral can contract the Mobile Community Healthcare program at  301-600-0624.

In addition, Burgan says the Mobile Community Healthcare program began administering COVID-19 vaccines and testing  last year. “Our program was able to administer 2300 doses of vaccine in 2021. And we think that’s 2100 people who didn’t have to go to the hospital for care,” he says.

And it expanded to assist those with substance abuse and addictions problems so they’re connected to the resources they need. :”2021 saw a significant and concerning spike across the country, Maryland not excluded from that,”: he said. “So we had an opportunity to partner again with our colleagues at the Health Department to provide peer recovery resources at the time of the crisis.”

A lot of the increases in substance abuse and addictions have been due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns which occurred, health officials say.

Chief Coe says he would like to expand this program. “We’ve recognized very early that 40-hours a week for two people doesn’t go very far in a county of our size,” he says. “So we’re leveraging some grant opportunities to try to build staff to build these programs out to provide increased services.”

By Kevin McManus