Community Paramedics Receive Training for Hospital-at-Home Program

Last updated on April 28, 2023

“Earn While You Learn” Academy Prepares Community Paramedics to Staff Covenant Health’s Advanced Care at Home Program

Covenant Health has established an innovative program called “Covenant Health Advanced Care at Home” that provides round-the-clock hospital-level care to patients at home. This program is in collaboration with Medically Home Group, Inc., and it is the first in the region to offer hospital-level services to people in their homes. Eligible medical diagnosis include chronic conditions such as heart failure, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The program initially will be offered through Covenant Health’s Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville and ultimately will be available to patients receiving care from Covenant Health’s other acute-care hospitals throughout East Tennessee in the next year.

There is a new workforce supporting Covenant Health’s new Advanced Care at Home program. Twelve individuals recently earned community paramedic certifications from GMR’s “Earn While You Learn” Academy, which was developed by Global Medical Response specifically to staff the new Covenant Health program.

EMS professionals with advanced training as community paramedics are the primary liaisons for daily in-person visits to patients. The Advanced Care at Home program also includes other healthcare professionals, 24-hour monitoring from health system clinicians and routine telemedicine appointments with physicians.

Individuals need at least five years of paramedic experience to qualify for the community paramedic program, but many have 15+ years of experience. To be certified, they complete a standardized educational program (approved by the State EMS Board) to deliver services beyond traditional emergency care and transport, including working in conjunction with medical direction. Community paramedics also receive training in areas such as primary care, public health, disease management, prevention/wellness, mental health and oral health.

Paramedic with Patient-Advanced Care at Home
Abby Williamson, community paramedic in East Tennessee, takes vital signs during a home visit as part of Covenant Health’s new initiative, Advanced Care at Home. Through this program, community paramedics from Global Medical Response can provide high-acuity medical services for patients in their homes (such as X-rays, ultrasounds, catheters, IVs and more).

“Covenant Health is proud to launch our Advanced Care at Home initiative in collaboration with Medically Home and Global Medical Response,” said Mandy Halford, MD, senior vice president and chief medical informatics officer for Covenant Health. “We’re pleased to see successful graduates of the Knoxville area’s first community paramedic program, which is one of only four programs currently available in Tennessee. These dedicated professionals are prepared to provide the best possible care for our patients.”

“We’re incredibly proud of our first class of graduates,” said Gregory Spurlock, vice president of healthcare operations for GMR. “For our inaugural academy, we had a 100 percent pass rate on the national exam, given by the International Board of Specialty Certification. The average first-time pass rate is only 58 percent, so having a full class achieve certification is a huge accomplishment.”

“Each student participated in a six-week, full-time program with lectures, practical hours and clinical rotations at Covenant Health,” he said. “These paramedics are now ready to take care of hospital patients at home.” The “Earn While You Learn” program was developed by GMR’s medical ground transportation company, American Medical Response, to ease financial transitions for those wanting to become EMS professionals. The program provides paid on-the-job training while participants become certified as EMTs or paramedics. Following successful program completion, participants have the opportunity to become full-time employees.

About Global Medical Response
With more than 38,000 team members, Global Medical Response delivers compassionate, quality medical care, primarily in the areas of emergency and patient relocation services in the United States and around the world. GMR was formed by combining the industry leaders in air, ground, managed medical transportation, and community, industrial/specialty and wildland fire services. Each of our companies has a long history of proudly serving the communities where we live: American Medical Response (AMR), Rural Metro Fire, Air Evac Lifeteam, REACH Air Medical Services, Guardian Flight, Med-Trans Corporation and AirMed International. For additional information, visit us on LinkedIn or at

About Covenant Health
Covenant Health is a Tennessee-based healthcare enterprise committed to providing the right care at the right time and place. As a nonprofit health system, we are dedicated to being the region’s premier healthcare network through service, community and innovation. We provide patient-centered care that inspires clinical and service excellence and strive to be the first and best choice for our patients, employees, physicians, employers, volunteers and communities. Covenant Health is the area’s largest employer and has more than 11,000 compassionate caregivers, expert clinicians, and dedicated employees and volunteers. Learn more at

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