Dallas paramedics' house call initiative yields smaller revenues than expected

An initiative by paramedics to increase house calls in Dallas has not produced as much revenue as originally hoped, according to The Dallas Morning News.  

When city officials launched the Mobile Community Healthcare program in 2015, they thought the cost of the initiative would be covered by fees from hospitals that aim to lessen the burden on their emergency rooms. However, financial records obtained by The Dallas Morning News show that the program has not realized such gains yet.

In the first six months of the program, the city of Dallas invoiced $56,325, but as of May 30, more than $41,000 of the fees had yet to be paid, meaning the program can afford to pay just two of the seven paramedics on the staff this fiscal year.

Despite the program's shortcoming so far, Norman Seals, assistant chief of Dallas' Emergency Medical Services, conveyed optimism regarding the Mobile Community Healthcare initiative. "In terms of revenue, I had hoped to be further along than this," he said, according to the report. "But I think we're on a good track right now, and really starting to show some good positive improvements. In my book, it will always be about the patients we're working with."

The Mobile Community Healthcare program is based on two tiers. The first is to keep EMS "frequent fliers," or those who dial 911 as their primary source of healthcare, to care for themselves. The second tier is to help keep patients out of the ER. Under the program, hospitals can pay the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department to visit their patients. Participating hospitals would still save money by avoiding frequent ER visits from chronically ill patients.

Just two hospitals have inked deals with the city: UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children's Medical Center Dallas. But according to Mr. Seals, other big deals that will make the program self-sufficient are in the works.

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