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Paramedics See Roles Expand – Minus The Lights And Sirens

After a brief assessment, paramedic Jordan Carter and emergency medical technician Kristie Hilton decide to take an intoxicated patient who passed out on a casino floor to a detox facility rather than the emergency room on Thursday, March 26, 2015 (Photo by Heidi de Marco/KHN).

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Parademics pride themselves on getting patients to an emergency room quickly. But in some states, they are doing everything possible to keep people out of the ER. It’s a new approach for paramedics – one that health officials hope will lead to lower costs and better care.

Paramedic Ryan Ramsdell is part of an ambitious plan to overhaul Reno’s 911 system. The idea is to use specially trained paramedics to fill health care gaps and reduce unnecessary trips to the ER. Nevada is one of several states testing new models of emergency medicine. But long-term change won’t be easy.

Blue Shield of California Foundation helps fund KHN coverage in California.

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California Cost and Quality States