West Metro Fire sees success with new model for care

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. — West Metro Fire Rescue says a new program is helping people in the community save money.

Kimel Brent’s office is a bright red Ford Transit van dubbed the Advanced Resource Medic (ARM).

“An exam room on wheels,” Brent said of the van.

The van is a new approach to give patients a more appropriate form of care when they don’t need a trip to the emergency room. The ARM Car is dispatched to more acute medical needs that do not require an ambulance.

“We wanted to meet the need for those who don’t know an option like this is available,” Brent said. “If someone sprains their ankle or their wrist and they might need an X-ray, we can bring that to their home.”

They partner with a company called Dispatch Health, which provides a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant to help with calls. The system also helps free up 911 resources for sicker patients.

West Metro Fire says it is 10 times cheaper than an ambulance trip to the ER and the convenience is a big help for elderly patients.

“It’s nice to have a space to bring them into so we can work on them in private,” Brent said.

Brent says they also try to connect patients with other partners in the community to help provide shelter, food, clothing or primary care.

West Metro Fire says it has treated more than 400 patients in the roughly 18 months the ARM Car has been in service, saving patients more than $1 million.

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