PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The city of Portland is launching a new program through its fire bureau that will connect community members with health care services.
The program is designed to meet people where they are. It's all funded through a $2.5 million grant from Care Oregon. The city council approved the program Tuesday.
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The idea is that a team of firefighter EMTs, called the Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT), will meet people upstream and connect them with health services before they head to an emergency room for care.
They'll be responding to what the fire bureau calls "low acuity" calls, which means non-emergency situations like diabetes, COPD or minor wound care, for example.
"We believe this program is really designed to be a proactive intervention, reaching community members in their time of need with one-on-one support from medical professionals. We believe it's a creative, innovative program that's really going to make a difference in people's lives, and we're looking forward to getting it off the ground and supporting it 100 percent," fire officials said Tuesday.
The new CHAT team will be overseen by a critical care nurse. The city anticipates the program will be up and running by mid-November.