Vibrant Health and KCKFD Announce New Community Paramedicine Program

WYCO Care Connection Image

WYCO Care Connection Team – Jessica Kraus, Paramedic (Left) and Erika Ortiz, Nurse Practitioner (Right)

Vibrant Health is proud to announce the official launch of the WYCO Care Connection program in partnership with the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department. WYCO Care Connection is a community paramedicine program that seeks to improve Wyandotte County residents’ health and well-being by reducing emergency medical services utilization for non-emergent care. This collaborative partnership brings high-quality clinical and support services to the homes of some of Wyandotte County’s most vulnerable residents—addressing their unique underlying needs.

“We know that only a fraction of an individual’s health is determined by what happens inside of a clinic or doctor’s office. The majority of outcomes are based on external factors like access to food or transportation. This program is helping us break down that barrier by meeting these patients where they are, advocating for their needs, and connecting them with appropriate community-based services.”

– Erika Ortiz, WCC Nurse Practitioner

This 18-month pilot program, the first of its kind in the Wyandotte County area, connects residents who frequently visit local emergency rooms with essential services to keep them safe and healthy and prevent unnecessary 911 calls or ER visits. 

“A patient might be showing up to a local emergency room monthly with an urgent health crisis related to an uncontrolled chronic disease. Our team can step in and identify potential barriers to effectively managing their health, including access to health care, transportation or food.”

– Matthew Salsbury, WCC Program Manager

This innovative community paramedicine model consists of a mobile team including a nurse practitioner and paramedic who conduct comprehensive in-home visits with community members. By meeting the underlying needs of these individuals, this program can reduce the number of unnecessary ER visits and 911 calls, lessen the strain on the health system, and improve outcomes for the individuals served.

“This program, while new to Wyandotte County, is part of a growing movement across the nation for community paramedicine. We’re recognizing just how important it is to meet patients in their homes when trying to understand their needs.”

– Mark Heath, EMS Chief

Since the mid-October launch of the WYCO Care Connection program, the mobile team has served more than 30 patients. These visits may range from relatively short check-ins to longer, more in-depth appointments, requiring extensive follow-up and case management work. This program works closely with local hospitals and community-based organizations to provide residents with a seamless approach to care.  

This pilot is an important step forward in addressing the underlying needs that contribute to poor health outcomes in Wyandotte County. Vibrant Health and the Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department are already seeing instances in which this program is impacting the lives of community members, and they look forward to the progress that can be made in the year to come.

View the full program announcement here.