Patients in mental health crisis will be able to rely on continued support from Eagle County’s Community Paramedics co-responding with mental health clinicians. The Colorado Health Foundation is investing $500,000 in the Community Paramedic co-response model for mental health patients over the next three years. The Foundation is committed to supporting community paramedics and crisis clinicians who provide compassionate care where it’s needed most across Eagle County.
Often patients in mental health crisis don’t need to be in the emergency department. They need services and support in the community they live in. The co-responder program pairs a crisis mental health clinician with a community paramedic on the scene. They each work to solve health care and mental health needs of the person or family impacted by crisis. Bringing services into the home or school reduces stress for those in crisis while avoiding unnecessary ambulance and emergency room costs.
The Eagle County Paramedic Services co-responder program has been operational since October of 2018 in partnership with the Hope Center Eagle River Valley. In the initial six months of the program, community paramedics and crisis clinicians responded to over 300 calls for service and reduced the transports from scene to the hospital by 78%.
“This is a huge cost savings to the patients we serve,” said CEO Christopher Montera. “The ambulance transport cost savings alone for patients and insurance companies is over $250,000 in those first six months.”
“It is working!” said Dwight Henninger, Vail Police Chief. “We have struggled for years with accessing adequate services for patients in mental health crisis. Over the years, we have tried multiple approaches for dealing with individuals having a mental health crisis. The co-responder model is working.”
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