Thirteen students who recently graduated from the first-ever Community Paramedic training program in the U.S. will receive their certification from the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board at 2 p.m. July 19 at Hennepin Technical College (HTC) in Eden Prairie. The 13 graduates -- all experienced paramedics -- will help to fill the ever-widening gaps in the health care delivery system by expanding access to health care for underserved groups in Minnesota. They will also help to significantly reduce costs for health care providers and taxpayers in the state.
This new type of professional will fulfill an unmet need and complement the health care team by functioning as an extension of physicians in clinics and hospitals. Community paramedics will take on various roles including outreach, wellness, health screening assessments, health instruction, dispensing of immunizations, disease management, wound care, safety programs and recognition of mental health issues.
"Hennepin Technical College is at the leading edge of training experienced paramedics to address minor and chronic health problems in the home, rather than automatically driving patients to a hospital emergency room," said Cecilia Cervantes, Ph.D, president of HTC, Minnesota's largest technical college.
The first Community Paramedic training program, which was developed in partnership with the Minnesota Ambulance Association , began in May 2011 at HTC's Eden Prairie campus. The program includes 112 hours of classroom instruction (64 hours of face-to-face or via interactive TV and 48 hours of online) and 196 hours of clinical training, which can be arranged in the eight EMS regions in the state. This flexible format allows qualified students from throughout Minnesota to participate in the program.
On April 6, 2011, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law the Community Paramedics Bill, creating a new certification for emergency medical technicians. Minnesota became the first state in the U.S. to pass this landmark legislation.
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