Because the program is only about five-months old, Andrews says it's still too early to determine its cost-effectiveness. "We are absorbing the cost of the program but hopefully gaining in that we are keeping people out of the hospital," she says.
"We are keeping our patients in a better state of overall health and well being. But that is why we haven't extended it beyond the North Memorial community, because it can get expensive very quickly. We are all for helping people, but we have to keep our own boat afloat as well."
Minnesota officials are now crafting a framework for a fee schedule that will allow providers to bill for community paramedic services. Rather than looking at the program as "a pure source of revenue generation," however, Andrews says it's more likely that the value will come from the money saved by providing proactive, non-emergent care in the least-expensive environment—the home.
"If we can keep people healthier and prevent them from utilizing extra sources that saves money and keeps the patient healthier—which is really the ultimate goal."