Skip to main content

Impact Story

Richland County Emergency Services Department

Reducing Emergency Room Visits

In any given year, at least 2,000 uninsured patients make more than three visits to a Palmetto Health emergency room. The Foundation's grant provided for the training and salaries of four mobile integrated healthcare (MIH) workers to improve access to care and redirect improper use of health care resources for economically vulnerable people.

About the Organization

Richland County Emergency Services Department saves lives and property. The department provides professional and cost-effective emergency and public safety planning, preparedness programs, response and recovery to Richland County citizens and visitors. Richland County Emergency Services Department is also the sole provider of EMS services in Richland County.

About the Grant

This grant was awarded in the spring 2015 grant cycle to provide salaries and training for four MIH workers, also known as community paramedics. MIH is a community-based model of care that uses paramedics to reach out to patients at home, in shelters or on the street. This prevents:

  • Inappropriate or avoidable EMS calls
  • Unnecessary visits to the emergency department
  • Avoidable inpatient admissions (or re-admissions)

Treating patients where they are reduces strain on hospital systems, which results in cost savings for the department and for patients. 

Why it was Funded

MIH aligns with the Foundation’s commitment to increasing a patient’s access to care and ensuring it is received at the most appropriate level.

Since the program’s inception, 725 patients have been served, resulting in a reduction of $7,526,458 through avoided EMS activation and hospital admissions.

Project Results

From September 2015 through December 2017, Richland County ESD:

  • Decreased EMS activations by 40percent
  • Reduced emergency department visits by 39 percent
  • Decreased hospital admissions by 61 percent within the patient population served

Ongoing Support

The Richland County Emergency Services Department is seeking sustainable funding through its partnership with Palmetto Health.