Port Angeles program to fund 2 full-time paramedics

Grant expands project through ’23

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Community Paramedicine program has received funding to provide medical and social services through 2023.

The City Council will consider today a memorandum of agreement with North Olympic Healthcare Network (NOHN) to expand the pilot program that provides a range of services to heavy users of the 9-1-1 system.

NOHN will use grant funding to provide up to $220,000 annually to support two full-time community paramedics through the end of 2023, according to the proposal.

The city program began in 2019 with longtime firefighter/paramedic Daniel Montana, who was removed from his regular duties to provide in-the-field medical care and other services to regular users of 9-1-1 and the Olympic Medical Center emergency room.

Community paramedics assess living conditions, review medication regimens and make referrals for needed services.

Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc has said the program exceeded expectations in reducing medical costs and improving lives.

“NOHN has been particularly supportive and has fully embraced the Community Paramedicine model,” Dubuc said in a memo to the City Council.

“After working very closely with the Community Paramedic, NOHN has found that the program addresses its mission, which is ‘to provide patient-centered, quality-driven, whole-person healthcare services that are accessible to everyone in our community.’ ”

Other partners in the program include Olympic Medical Center and Peninsula Behavioral Health.

NOHN received a “significant grant” last year to fund two community paramedics for three years, Dubuc said in his memo.

“The Fire Department is extremely grateful to the North Olympic Healthcare Network for their support of this valuable community program,” Dubuc added.

The two community paramedics will respond to non-emergency 9-1-1 calls, divert patients from the OMC emergency room, reduce hospital re-admissions, monitor the chronically ill, connect patients to appropriate medical and social services, and collaborate with NOHN’s community health workers, according to the memorandum.

The community paramedics will administer medications, check vital signs, assess general health and living conditions, dress minor wounds, assist with medications and refer patients to NOHN.

The City Council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. today.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.