By Mark Ambrogi
The Carmel Fire Department’s Mobile Integration Healthcare program was on a trial run for its first year, but its success and a recent grant will allow it to become a full-time service.
The MIH program’s services include detailed health assessments, blood pressure monitoring, medication help and social integration for people who have recently been released from the hospital. It had been available Monday through Friday for 7 1/2 hours each day, but a $50,000 grant from St. Vincent Carmel and the St. Vincent Foundation, presented Sept. 21, will allow it to be operational every hour of every day.
“We’ve been using it for a little over a year. We started it on a trial basis to make sure there was a need in the community, and what we found out was a resounding yes,” said Jon Alverson, EMS training captain. “We’ve dealt with well over 100 patients at this point (and) done follow-ups. Some people need things as simple as picking up trip hazards and as complicated (as) transitioning to nursery facilities.”
For implementing the MIH program, the Carmel Fire Department was awarded the Liberty Mutual Firemark Award for Community Service and Public Education to CFD Fire Chief David Haboush at CFD headquarters on Sept. 18.
“We decided we would give it to this department because (the MIH program) is the first of its kind (in Indiana),” said Carrie Graham, Liberty Mutual Insurance sales representative.
As the local Firemark Award winner, CFD will be considered for Liberty Mutual’s national award for community service. The national winner receives a $10,000 grant.
“It started because the guys on the firetruck realized there might be a person that may need a little help outside of a 911 call,” Alverson said.
Scott Stroup, one of CFD’s community paramedics, said it has been an important program.
“We’re working with a lot of the elderly and those with limited mobility and some of their health issues, trying to keep them independent and in their home as long as they can,” Stroup said. “It’s nice to get a little recognition for all that we do.”