A community-based program is redefining ongoing health care in the District of Parry Sound.

The Community Paramedicine program is a proactive approach to healthcare that differs from the reactive response approach of EMS paramedics.

Parry Sound Fire Chief and Director of Development and Protective Services Dave Thompson speaking before Parry Sound Town Council on October 2nd, says the program targets patients that have fallen through the cracks of traditional healthcare.

It offers a stress-free alternative to emergency care through a system of referrals by either staff or outside agencies identifying those most in need.

Two medics permanently assigned to the east and west portions of the Parry Sound District reach out to patients who have ongoing health issues whether it be diet, forgetting to take their medication or access to a doctor to ensure that they maintain a good quality of life.

Contact can be simply a monthly phone call or a visit to check-up on the health of that person.

Medics carry blue-tooth enhanced equipment that allows them to connect directly to a physician through the Ontario Telehealth Network that allows live monitoring of the patient’s vital signs.

If medication is required, the doctor can prescribe it on the spot.

The program doesn’t place any additional financial burden on the district as well.

Chief Thompson explained while field ambulances are 50-50 funded between municipalities and the province, the Community Paramedicine program is fully funded by the Ontario government.