Mesa community medicine program shutters due to lack of funding

Mar 22, 2018, 4:31 AM
(Facebook/Mesa Fire and Medical Department)...
(Facebook/Mesa Fire and Medical Department)
(Facebook/Mesa Fire and Medical Department)

PHOENIX — A community medicine program run by the Mesa Fire Department shut down earlier this month when it could not sustain itself after running out of money from a $12 million federal grant.

Mesa Fire Chief Mary Cameli suspended the Mesa Community Paramedicine program on March 1 because she “could not deliver on her pledge to make it self-sustaining,” according to the East Valley Tribune.

“I don’t regret this for one second. I am proud of our members,” Cameli said. “I think we learned a lot. It taught us how to modify our dispatch and how to get the right people to the right call.”

The program was staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants and handled routine calls, such as nose bleeds and back pain, in an effort to keep certain cases out of emergency rooms. 

It also involved firefighters and certified crisis counselors taking patients to behavioral health centers to “make a more informed diagnosis.”

The program had treated thousands of people since it began in August 2012.

The federal grant that funded the program went away by Sept. 1, 2017. The grant also allowed the department to replace some of its large fire trucks.

The department started to run into problems collecting insurance payments this month, so they started again taking all patients to emergency rooms.

But Chris Cebollero, an emergency medical services consultant in St. Louis, said he hopes to persuade Blue Cross/Blue Shield to fund services like Mesa’s starting this year.

“We are creating history every day in this new environment of community paramedicine,” he said. “I think the insurance companies need to be creative in the way they pay for services.

“The program in Mesa was one of the programs doing incredibly well,” he added. “For the patients’ well-being, they should figure it out.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

FILE - Water flows along the All-American Canal Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, near Winterhaven, Calif. T...
Associated Press

California water agencies offer Colorado River savings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water agencies that rely on the parched Colorado River said Wednesday they can reduce their use by one-tenth starting in 2023 in response to calls for cuts from the federal government. The agencies, which supply water to farmers and millions of people in Southern California, laid out their proposal in […]
17 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/The University of Arizona Police Department)...
Associated Press

University of Arizona police search for a shooting suspect, 1 person wounded

One person was wounded Wednesday after a shooting at the University of Arizona, and campus police said they were searching for the suspect.
17 hours ago
(Facebook photo/ Buckeye Police Department)...

Police investigating allegations against photographer at Buckeye school

Police said Thursday they are investigating allegations of sexual offenses by a photographer contracted by a Buckeye elementary school.
17 hours ago
Residents attend an event hosted by Arizona State University graduate design students at Academia d...
Associated Press

Low-income communities in Phoenix, other cities learn to tackle climate-fueled heat

Several nonprofit initiatives are popping up around the nation, including in Phoenix, to educate residents about climate-fueled heat that disproportionately affects low income neighborhoods of color.
17 hours ago
(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)...

Rock legend Stevie Nicks postpones Phoenix concert on doctor’s orders

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks has postponed her Thursday appearance in her hometown because of illness, promoters said.
17 hours ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
Kevin Stone

Phoenix’s Operation Gun Crime Crackdown extended after nearly 1,200 firearms seized

Law enforcement agencies in Phoenix are extending Operation Gun Crime Crackdown after nearly 1,200 firearms were taken off the streets during the pilot program’s first three months.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Mesa community medicine program shutters due to lack of funding