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'The Difference Between Life and Death':
The Tool That Could Keep You Out of the Emergency Room
When West Allis firefighter Chris Williams shows up at your house, it probably won't be with lights and sirens.
"Something a little more discreet comes in front of your house, you feel a little less apprehensive," Williams said as he drove up to a patient's home.
Williams is part of West Allis' Mobile Integrated Healthcare program; his role is often referred to as "community EMS." Williams says his goal is to prevent 911 calls later by doing non-emergency visits now. You'll often find him inspecting for fall hazards, monitoring wound care, and connecting people with disabilities with transportation.
Even though proponents say community EMS can help keep patients out of the emergency room in the first place, programs have been slow to start in Wisconsin.
"Wisconsin hasn’t always been on the cutting edge of these sort of things," Marc Cohen, Executive Director of Wisconsin EMS Association said.