In October of 2015 Ute Pass Regional Health service District began an ambitious endeavor to bring a Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) program to our community. CCP affords our paramedic providers with advanced skills and tools to manage critically unstable patients requiring transport from an acute care facility to another higher level of care.
In the modern healthcare system many hospitals specialize in specific areas of care, such as:
- Cardiac Centers of Excellence
- Stroke Centers of Excellence
- Level I & II Trauma Centers
- Burn Centers
- Rural Critical access hospitals
This system allows hospitals to focus on their specific areas of expertise while being assured that other hospitals will focus on areas they don’t. This approach allows communities to best manage their healthcare opportunity costs. One predictable side effect of this highly efficient approach is a slight increase in the number of patients transferred from one hospital to another by ambulance. Many of the patients transported by ambulance from one hospital to another are very sick requiring treatments, medications, and medical equipment not required on a standard 9-1-1 transport.
In the last several years the number of interfacility transports from the local hospital, urgent care clinics, and other acute care facilities has increased. At the same time many of the patients have been more acutely ill, establishing the need for higher levels of care during transport.
In 2013 the Colorado Legislature approved a Critical Care Paramedic bill authored by Representative Leroy Garcia (himself a paramedic). The bill allowed the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) to create a Critical Care Endorsement for State of Colorado Certified Paramedics interested in obtaining the additional training for CCP. In the summer of 2014, the CDPHE added the Critical Care Endorsement as an addition to the standard Paramedics certification. To obtain this endorsement paramedics must complete the Critical Care Paramedic or Flight Paramedic certification exams offered by the Board of Critical Care Transport Paramedics (BCCTP). The BCCTP is an independent certifying agency that provides advanced care certifications for paramedics all over the world.
By embracing this further education our paramedics have the chance to expand their clinical knowledge and assessment skills. This allows UPRHSD to expand protocols affording an advanced set of drug therapies, treatments, specialized equipment, and procedures.
This new program benefits the community at large with an expanded role for paramedics that assures greater levels of care can be provided across a broader spectrum of the healthcare system. This service is yet another example of our community’s efforts to create additional value for the citizens and visitors within UPRHSD’s service area.