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Paramedics visit Florence patients now to avoid a trip to the hospital later

Paramedic Chris Martin arrived at a patient's house Tuesday - not to take him away to the hospital in an ambulance, but to keep the patient out of the hospital. (SBG)

FLORENCE, Ore. - Paramedic Chris Martin arrived at a patient's house Tuesday - not to take him away to the hospital in an ambulance, but to keep the patient out of the hospital.

Martin is making house calls to help seniors with chronic health issues.

The goal: to help people stay healthier now - and avoid an ambulance trip to the hospital later.

"We were seeing them all the time," Martin recalled of his work as a paramedic in South Carolina. "I even took the same patient to the hospital 3 times in one day."

On Tuesday, Martin visited Calvin Hurd to help the man now - and avoid a trip to the hospital later.

"We want to figure out what's wrong, what's going on, what is the reason that they're having a problem?" he said.

It's part of the Mobile Integrated Healthcare program at Western Lane Ambulance District.

The program launch in January with a $200,000 grant from PeaceHealth.

Martin makes house calls to seniors to check to make sure they stay on their medications, eat properly and that the home is safe.

The idea is to reduce repeat visits to the local hospital and cut repeated visits to the ER.

Martin calls it the next wave of emergency medical care.

And while this is a pilot project in just Florence for now, organizers hope to go countywide in the next 2 years.

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