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Pilot project: Pitt receives $100,000 grant for community paramedic program


Brian Floyd, center left, president of Vidant Medical Center, presents a $100,000 ceremonial check to Pitt County Board of Commissioners Melvin McLawhorn for the community paramedic program being launched in northern Pitt County. Pitt County EMS coordinator Jim McArthur, left, and County Manager Scott Elliott, right, also were on hand for Monday's presentation. (Ginger Livingston/The Daily Reflector)


Ginger Livingston

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pitt County soon will launch a pilot program that will bring medical services to individuals who fall through the gaps in health care.

The county received a $100,000 grant from the Vidant Health Foundation to start a community paramedic program in northern Pitt County. The pilot project will employ a paramedic to check on local residents with a variety of health problems who are not served by traditional medical providers.

Vidant Medical Center President Brian Floyd presented the Pitt County Board of Commissioners a ceremonial check for the program on Monday.

The paramedic, who will be based at the county office building on West Fifth Street, will work with people who do not qualify for services such as skilled nursing or home health care after they are discharged from Vidant Medical Center, said Jim McArthur, Pitt County EMS coordinator.

"These are people who have fallen through the cracks of the health care system and who primarily seek their health care through the emergency room," McArthur said.

The county has been advertising for the position and has hopes to have the paramedic in place by early February, McArthur said.

The county still is defining the position's scope of work, he said. The paramedic will work with Pitt County's EMS medical director to develop protocols for working with patients, McArthur said.

"This person is a facilitator who will have the ability to talk with doctors' offices, the hospital," McArthur said.

The paramedic would assess an individual's needs. If an individual repeatedly has been transported to the hospital because of falls, the paramedic may do a fall assessment to find ways to improve the person's environment.

If a person has heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the paramedic will work with the individual to properly arrange medicines with him or her and establish a process for following their doctor's advice.

"Paramedics are familiar with their communities, know who their patients are, but (the position) is a little less expensive than a nurse," McArthur said.

"The overarching theme is we are trying to utilize this paramedic in a nontraditional way to get people the most appropriate health care," he said.

Contact Ginger Livingston at glivingston@reflector.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.