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Re: 'FRHS funds could go to NCFPD' [Village News, letter, 10/3/19]

 

Last updated 10/9/2019 at 12:52pm



Last week, a letter to the editor in the Village News raised some very thought-provoking questions about the fabric of the relationship between the Fallbrook Regional Health District and the North County Fire Protection District; more specifically what the regional health district has done to support the NCFPD’s paramedic program, since the closure of the Fallbrook Hospital in 2014.

The author of the letter acknowledged the challenges our paramedics now face due to the closure of the Fallbrook Hospital; for example, our paramedics now have to travel much further to transport patients to other hospitals. He also spoke to a host of issues that the NCFPD is not positioned to address. However, there is one issue that we can speak to that constituents throughout our service area should be made aware of, if they are not already.

Since the closure of the Fallbrook Hospital, North County Fire has expanded its “Joint Powers Agreement” with the FRHD. This expanded agreement now includes a 5-year commitment on the part of the health district to provide approximately $250,000 per year, which is approximately 12% of the health district’s annual budget; these monies will be used to support various elements of our paramedic delivery services. It includes direct funding for the purchase of ambulances, a medical services officer such as a nurse educator or quality assurance specialist and a social media or community outreach specialist.

With this arrangement, we will be expanding the concept of “community paramedicine,” which will revolutionize emergency medical care throughout north San Diego County. It will make our system not only more cost effective, but will make possible interventions and referrals to services supported by FRHD before a person’s health condition turns into a crisis, necessitating one to call 911. Moreover, this expanded arrangement between the two agencies will ultimately relieve the fire district from having to add additional paramedic ambulances; thus, saving taxpayer dollars.

In short, NCFPD’s expanded JPA arrangement with the Fallbrook Regional Health District places our paramedic services on the leading-edge of where health care will be going in the 21st century.

 

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