By Noell Wolfgram Evans
The future of EMS was discussed at a recent Jackson Township board of trustees meeting.
The trustees heard from officials in the fire department on a change in thought and services under what’s being called EMS 3.0.
Currently Jackson Township operates, as most others do, under a fee-for-service system where the township was paid by insurance, Medicare, Medicaid for making a 911 call and for any subsequent hospital runs. In the next two to five years, Medicaid will begin making payments based on value. Insurance companies will also be following this path.
Currently 80 percent to 90 percent of the 911 calls that are responded to are needs for EMS services and only 5 percent to 10 percent of those are what is construed as a full emergency.
This move to an EMS 3.0 model doesn’t change what the township will do for 911 calls. They will still make all necessary runs. Instead the change will come from the additional services being offered.
The hope is that the EMS team would be able to build on the relationship of trust that they have established within the community to expand, and diversify, their services to include things such as discharge follow-ups, chronic disease management, and transportation to alternative community health resources. Other potential service offerings could be delivering and setting up wheelchair ramps and in-home grab bars, stronger educational outreach efforts, patient follow-ups, and extra focus on initiatives such as infant mortality prevention.
As this shift starts to happen, residents will begin to hear the term Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH), which presents a new way to look at what were traditionally designated hospital and EMS services. Under an MIH team approach, those services blur and overlap. In this new paradigm, reimbursements will continue to come from traditional sources along with payments directly from hospitals and potentially private practitioners.
Currently there are eight communities in central Ohio who have made a move in this direction including the city of Columbus, Hamilton Township and Norwich Township.
Following the presentation, Anthony LaBianca and RJ Hall were sworn in as full-time firefighters for the Jackson Township Fire Department. Noah Fisher, Kirk McKinley, Cole Smoot, and Jonathan Robards were also sworn in to the fire department as fire techs.
Trustees also elected members to the Volunteer Firefighters Dependents Fund Board. Following customs, trustees David Burris and Stephen Bowshier agreed to serve one year on the board. New firefighters Anthony LaBianca and Robert Hall were elected to the board by their fellow firefighters. Jim Gillespie of Schoedinger Funeral Home was asked to serve by the four township employees on the board.
It was also announced that long-time Jackson Township Administrator Mike Lilly will be retiring on Dec. 29.