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Montana medical group develops traveling paramedic program

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Posted at 1:55 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 15:55:41-04

BOZEMAN - They say for a business to succeed, it must change as the world changes. Best Practice Medicine in Bozeman has done just that, several times since its founding in 2015.

As we recently found out, the pandemic was a business killer for many. For Best Practice, it was just a way to pivot to new opportunities.

The founders of Best Practice Medicine found challenges for rural communities in attracting paramedics and EMTs.

That was seven years ago — classroom and practical training for those medical professionals quickly morphed into training paramedics for fire crews, then along came COVID-19 and FEMA's need to inoculate lots of people.

“We made that pivot with our wildland fire teams that support FEMA, to now we're supporting big healthcare systems. Currently, today we have, we're supporting seven hospitals in Montana and an additional eight states,” said Andrew Egstad, Best Practice Medicine vice president of sales and accounts.

Now, what do paramedics have to do with hospital medical care? Another pivot for BPM.

“Yesterday I looked, there were over 117,000 open travel nursing positions in the country. So even if you're a hospital system and you're trying to staff, you had critical staffing needs,” Egstad said.

“It's unlikely that you would even be able to source a nurse and so why not look outside the box and come up with an alternative solution, and putting a paramedic into a hospital clinical setting and full scope is one of those paradigm shifts of supporting our hospital system,” he added.

Make no mistake, paramedics are still needed. So now, Best Practice has developed a traveling paramedic program. Some recently returned from Bakersfield, California.

“That was a very high acuity setting down there. They were a high-crime metro service and the frequency down there was a very high call volume with a lot of different calls, experience that we wouldn't necessarily get in Bozeman and other places in Montana,” said Best Practice Medicine paramedic Dennis Boshart.

That helped Bakersfield, but it also benefits BPM.

“Truly, it’s a blessing. I think the opportunity to go from state to state, even stay within Montana and work, meet new people, work with different partners and then work in different systems is a really unique opportunity because I get to learn more,” said Best Practice travel EMT Miranda Roy.

Not everyone can spend time in Bozeman, so Best Practice has now taken its training to the rest of the country thanks to a high-tech classroom and a little creativity.

The classroom is a fully-mobile trailer that has the ability to simulate virtually any training scenario that you would need to be a quality paramedic. Right now, it’s due to leave for Kansas to do work for the Department of Defense.

Six medical rooms, fully automated, using state-of-the-art simulation — now training is real, without the real cost of life.

“The simulation trailer is kind of the same thing,” Roy said. “To watch a student start doing one thing but then end doing another thing and being more confident is—it’s really cool.”

While the pandemic cut training opportunities, this mobile classroom helped fill that void.

“With the height of COVID and the advent of less clinical opportunities because of COVID, this has been a real game-changer for people, especially in the clinical setting for continuing education and also initial education like at universities and training centers like Best Practice,” said Boshart.

So what started as a training facility for paramedics in rural Montana has now turned into a state-of-the-art medical training campus with mobile branch locations. Seems appropriate it’s based in a building most in the Gallatin Valley know as the “Life of Montana.”