Benefits of Community Paramedicine for Rural Community Health
Communities have started to examine the best ways to use their emergency medical services (EMS) resources
efficiently. Community paramedicine programs are one innovation that can particularly benefit rural populations
because many people in rural communities have limited access to other types of healthcare. These programs are
designed to supplement existing primary care, the public health infrastructure, and fill existing service
Community paramedicine services can help their communities by:
Reducing the burden on other providers. By treating patients in their homes or other locations
outside the clinic, community paramedics reduce the number of patients in hospital beds, nursing homes, or
Reducing unnecessary transports. In some situations, community paramedics can provide the
appropriate level of care to individuals who call for help with non-emergent issues. For example, a community
paramedic could assess and treat a patient who had a minor fall in their home and determine whether or not
additional care and transportation to the hospital are needed.
Increasing access to primary care. Through home visits, community paramedics can provide
traditional primary care services to patients. These can include routine vaccinations; wound care; or checkups
for patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, or other chronic conditions. Programs may also help fill the
needs of uninsured or underinsured patients who are otherwise unable to access services from home health
Improving quality of life. Through increased access to care, community paramedics provide
individuals with services like home modifications that will improve patient quality of life and potentially
allow them to stay independent in their own home for longer.
Supporting mobile integrated healthcare. Because community paramedics have already established
relationships with healthcare providers outside of EMS, their role can bridge gaps between existing services and
bring those services out into the community.
Resources to Learn More
Paramedicine Impact Reference Guide
Provides citations and descriptions of journal articles that describe or quantify the impact of community
paramedicine programs. Includes information about the goals and services provided by the program, including
reduction of 911 calls, safety inspections, health promotion, and transportation to an alternative
Organization(s): National Rural Health Resource Center; Paramedic Foundation
The Evidence for
Community Paramedicine in Rural Areas: State and Local Findings and the Role of the State Flex
Examines the evidence base for community paramedicine in rural areas using information derived from
surveys and interviews of state emergency medicine service (EMS) officials, directors of state
offices of rural health (SORH), and Flex coordinators. Outlines the roles of community paramedics,
challenges with implementation, and activities of state Flex programs in supporting the
implementation of community paramedicine programs in rural communities.
Author(s): Pearson, K., Gale, J., & Shaler, G.
Organization(s): Flex Monitoring Team
Mobile Integrated Healthcare and Community Paramedicine (MIH-CP)
Provides an overview of mobile integrated healthcare and community paramedicine. Outlines the role
of community paramedicine and challenges organizations may encounter when establishing a program. Includes
three case studies.
Organization(s): National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians