Teams Deliver COVID-19 Vaccine Upstream

Tour Commander, 509.625.7100

Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 2:59 p.m.

Disabled and homebound CARES Clients received COVID-19 Vaccine over the past two days by the Spokane Fire Department's (SFD) Integrated Medical Division. SFD does not have a traditional "EMS Division" like most Fire Agencies in North America. The fire service's segment of the healthcare system has been siloed and focused only on in-progress emergencies in the pre-hospital environment for well over 50-years. The growing focus for us as community healthcare leaders has been breaking down silos and leveraging our collective resources and partnerships to provide seamless, effective, and efficient preventative and responsive care that reflects a individual's healthcare needs holistically. The provision of care includes neonatal care through the end of life, across physical and mental healthcare disciplines, and in partnership with the individual, their caretakers, and family.

Our Integrated Medical Care Teams include our Social Workers, Paramedics, EMTs, Crisis Interventionalists, Communications Specialists, and leadership. Our people support programs active in healthcare disciplines throughout the community, such as SFD CARES and HotSpotters, SFD/Frontier Behavior Health Behavior Response Unit, Spokane Regional Health Vaccination Teams, SFD Community Risk Reduction Program, EMS Response, and many, many others. 

Integrated Medical Manager Mike Lopez and SFD's Medical Service Officers (Captain Mike Dawson and Lieutenant Kasey Austin) with CARES Manager Sarah Foley built interdisciplinary teams to find a COVID-19 vaccine solution for our most vulnerable populations by meeting people with disabilities where they are. Our upstream approach is built on a social work concept of recognizing resources available through an eco-mapping process with our most at-risk community members to help them disrupt structural or bureaucratic barriers to care to transform a person's quality of life and improve health outcomes. 

While we have deployed many of our medically trained personnel in communities throughout the Pacific Northwest over the past year, this team is extraordinary. With Mike Lopez as their leader, they have displayed the highest level of compassion, patience, and professionalism in very challenging clinical situations. The interdisciplinary teams have provided upstream work all week in our community with the COVID-19 vaccine in hand. Without our strong partnership with Spokane Regional Health District, our elected leaders, and outstanding people--this service would never have come to fruition.