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EMS AWARDS 2013 Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year: MEDSTAR MOBILE HEALTHCARE, Ft. Worth, TX This year's Dick Ferneau Paid EMS Service of the Year is MedStar Mobile Healthcare of Ft. Worth, TX. There are a lot of reasons for that, and we'll get into them, but if you want a short answer or single thumbnail act to explain why, take its name. Earlier this year MedStar EMS became MedStar Mobile Healthcare, a change intended to reflect the service's burgeoning role as a full-fledged provider of a broad spectrum of community healthcare services that transcend traditional emergency care. believed for a long time that we're not just an ambulance transportation company; we practice medicine and healthcare every single day, and we need to be viewed in that venue." MedStar's been involved in mobile healthcare types of efforts for four years now, and its belief in the concept approaches the evangelical:"One of our primary missions," service leaders said in applying for the Ferneau award, "has been to educate our entire industry on the benefits of becoming more involved in the delivery of healthcare." To that end Photos by Bob Strickland Photography MedStar has been involved in mobile healthcare efforts for four years now. The paint is still wet on mobile healthcare as an industrywide concept, and while a few big systems have embraced it aggressively, MedStar was the first to make such an unreserved public commitment as breaking with the name EMS. This new approach, the move announced, is who we are and will be our future. "We feel it's putting our money where our mouth is: If we're going to preach this stuff, then we should brand ourselves to represent our beliefs," says MedStar's executive director, Doug Hooten. "We've 88 SEPTEMBER 2013 | EMSWORLD.com its leaders have hosted more than 77 agencies from 31 states and five countries in two years for visits to learn about new roles and opportunities in EMS' future, and presented on it at more than 30 conferences. Similarly, the service has been unafraid to change, innovate and improve across all areas of its operations and medicine. The name change was but a shorthand representation of its entire organizational approach. "We try to create a culture here that allows people to bring innovative ideas to the table and come up with new ways to do things," says Hooten."We work very collaboratively across lines. In our area there's a tremendous collaborative spirit among all the healthcare and public safety providers unlike I've seen anyplace else. It's one of coming up with solutions to things that plague our communities every day." In the realm of community care and mobile healthcare, here are some of the solutions MedStar has found: • 9-1-1 nurse triage for low-acuity callers—Certain callers can be referred by a dispatch-certified in-house RN to resources more appropriate to meet their nonemergency needs. More than 40% are successfully steered to more suitable help, care coordination and follow-up. • Congestive heart failure program— Hospital patients at risk for 30-day readmissions get home visits and education, medication compliance checks, and weight and diet compliance monitoring. In some cases MedStar providers can give diuretics. The program has reduced readmissions in its target population by almost half. • Hospice revocation avoidance— Hospice patients and families often voluntarily disenroll patients from hospice at the last moments by calling 9-1-1. MedStar works with hospice agencies to supplement their care and prevent this. Of 62 patients enrolled in this program, just two have voluntarily disenrolled from hospice. • Observation admission avoidance—Working with its local ACO (accountable care organization), MedStar visits the homes of certain patients who may otherwise be held for observation to ensure they're OK without being hospitalized. MedStar providers conduct risk assessments and help patients follow up with their primary physicians. The program has saved more than $7,000 per patient in overnight-stay costs expenditures, with