Emergency medical responders from Goodyear, Surprise and Peoria

Emergency medical responders from Goodyear, Surprise and Peoria collaborate on the paramedicine pilot program.

What do Goodyear, Surprise and Peoria have in common?

Paramedicine.

Though they are not close neighbors, these three cities will continue working together via a paramedicine pilot program.

Paramedicine is also known as emergency medical services.

On Sept. 23, Goodyear City Council made it official by approving an intergovernmental agreement with Peoria and Surprise to continue the joint program. The Peoria Fire-Medical Department was awarded the Community Paramedicine Grant from UnitedHealthcare, allowing the cities to continue the program for another year.

“The collaborative partnership across the three cities is what makes the community paramedicine project so special,” said Goodyear Fire Chief Paul Luizzi. “Providing compassion and care with consistency is what the fire departments are known for and we’re grateful to receive this grant to continue to meet the proactive needs of the community.”

The grant is $175,000 for a one-year paramedicine program in which Peoria is the recipient and grant administrator. The paramedicine unit will operate three days a week within the three jurisdictions. 

Aimed at preventive measures, the project will focus on frequent utilizers of the 911 system. Home visits will help determine health care needs. Referrals or resources are to be provided to try and lessen the reliance on the 911 system for non-emergent health care needs.

“This program aims to build a healthier community,” said Mayor Cathy Carlat. “By proactively reaching out to those in need, we are able to provide the support our residents need to live their best lives and I’m thrilled to see this program once again offered to our community.”

 In 2016 and 2017, Goodyear, Surprise and Peoria worked together to establish a regional Community Paramedicine Program through a previous grant awarded by the Vitalyst Foundation. The new grant will allow continued regional service and build on the foundation established by the previous program.

“The Surprise Fire-Medical Department is pleased to be working collaboratively with Peoria and Goodyear fire departments to provide a service that increases the level of service and care to non-emergency patients in need,” said Surprise Fire-Medical Chief Tom Abbott.

He added the program allows the departments to maximize efficiency, “while simultaneously reducing overall costs for our health care system, providing more bed space in hospital emergency departments, and keeping fire trucks available to assist residents and visitors that are experiencing emergencies.”

The result, agreed Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz, is a win-win-win.

 “This grant allows us to continue offering important community paramedicine services to Peoria residents and to our partner cities of Surprise and Goodyear,” said Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz. “The collaborative proactive approach to community health increases the level of service we can offer to those that we serve.”