Knox Area Rescue Ministries

Community Healthcare for the Underserved

The serious consequences associated with limitations in healthcare access are becoming commonplace and will only increase with the closure of Tennova’s Physician’s Regional Medical Center. The specific issue of overcrowding in emergency rooms (ER) throughout the Knoxville area is now critical. Recently, Fort Sanders was forced to treat patients in hallways due to the sharp increase in ER patient traffic. UT Medical Center leaders are in the process of making major shifts in staff levels as they anticipate an estimated increase of 10,000 ER patients this year. But all of this is a symptom of the larger, on-going problems of insufficient primary and chronic care access for the underserved populations in our community. In collaboration with health care providers, Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) would like to lead in the development of a program to provide onsite medical services at our facility, which in turn would become a model for similar programs. Further, related services would establish onsite follow-up visits for patients with chronic problems instead of relying on repetitive admissions to the ER. KARM can design and develop a Community Paramedicine Program (CPP) operating from our facility to improve homeless patient access to healthcare; improve patient outcomes; and reduce costs. The proposed CPP would immediately result in a measurable decrease in the number of ER visits and reduce the entire spectrum of associated costs.