Organizational Buy-In and Partnerships for Community Paramedicine Programs
Community readiness is an important factor for creating a successful program. When implementing a new program, it is important to gain community buy-in from local leaders and organizations. Obtaining buy-in early in the process of developing the program can be useful to gauge overall readiness and to identify potential areas of concern so they can be addressed early.
Programs should research stakeholder organizations in their area that serve the intended patient population and invite stakeholders to discuss the creation of a community paramedicine program.
Stakeholders may include:
- Family medicine/primary care providers
- Local public health agencies
- Home health agencies
- Community health workers
- Local emergency medical service providers
- Law enforcement
Identifying and meeting with stakeholders can help the community understand the purpose of and need for a community paramedicine program and gain support for establishing and maintaining it. This engagement will also provide insight into how community stakeholders think the program can benefit patients and start discussions about how programs can support one another. Such conversations can help stakeholders feel engaged in creating a program that will benefit their organization as well — instead of feeling surprised when the program launches. These positive working relationships can also facilitate program participant enrollment once the program launches.
For example, a program may receive referrals from the local home health agency and vice versa, depending on the patient's level of independence. In particular, home health agencies and other organizations that offer home-visiting services may have concerns that a new program will duplicate their efforts or take away current or eligible clients. It is key to engage with local home healthcare agencies prior to launching a program to explain that the program intends to complement their services, not replace them. For example, some programs may only serve patients who are uninsured or underinsured and therefore without access to home healthcare. In that case, clients of the community paramedicine program would not overlap with the home healthcare patient population. Additionally, if it applies to the goals of the community paramedicine program, the team can communicate that they intend to help community members access a wider array of services compared to traditional home health models.