Mountain Vista Medical Center expands partnerships

Starting this Wednesday, May 20, some patients in Mesa and Apache Junction will begin to receive the urgent care they need without leaving home.

Apache Junction residents Rhonda Barber and her mother, Jeannie, have both utilized the services of the Community Care Unit (CCU) for their urgent care needs on multiple occasions. Rhonda recently had the CCU at her home after she took a wrong medication and had an adverse reaction.

“They hooked me up to an IV and flushed my system out and stayed with me until they made sure I was feeling better,” Rhonda said. “That saved me a trip to the hospital. I think it’s an awesome program. If I can call them and have them come to my house and take care of me when it’s not a drastic emergency, that’s the best program out there ever.”

Thanks to a partnership between Mountain Vista Medical Center and Mesa Fire and Medical and Superstition Springs Fire and Medical emergency responders, “low-level” emergency calls can now be answered — and often resolved ­— by mobile units that treat patients on-site. The program was recently expanded and there are now three mobile units on the streets.

“By answering these calls, we help alleviate the 911 backlog and save the four-person units to deal with true emergencies like strokes, heart attacks or fires,” says hospital Chief Executive Tony Marinello “In 2013, 80 percent of the 911 calls received by Mesa Fire and Medical Department were health-related, so mobile units help ensure the right people are responding to the right calls.”

Staffed by a paramedic employed by the fire department and nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant the hospital employs, the teams can treat wounds, stabilize blood sugar, test for infections, administer shots and even write prescriptions. They can refer patients to primary care physicians or specialists. And each patient receives a follow-up call a few days later, which decreases reoccurrence rates. 

Mountain Vista’s partnership began in 2012 with one nurse practitioner and Mesa Fire and Medical Department providing a mobile unit and a paramedic captain that operated three days a week. In December, the partnership was expanded to provide 24-hour coverage seven days a week. Mountain Vista now employs 11 nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, who staff mobile units in both Mesa and the Apache Junction areas. 

“At Mountain Vista, we embrace innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for the individuals and communities we serve,” Marinello said. “That’s why expanded our partnership to provide Mesa and Apache Junction area residents with a more appropriate response to low-level 911 calls, which will help to reduce the strain on our valued emergency resources and personnel.”