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Innovation Almanac: Fire Station Health Care

They’ll retrieve your cat when she’s stuck in a tree. But how about health care at a fire station?

Soon, thanks to Alex Briscoe, the good folks at fire stations (the paramedics, in particular) might be able to fill your prescriptions, give you vaccines, and patch up your scraped knee.

Briscoe, a psychotherapist and the director of the Alameda County Healthcare Services Agency, has been thinking creatively about the coming, well, firestorm, when the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) goes into effect in January 2104. While it will bring some $600 million to Alameda County, it also threatens to swamp emergency rooms and primary care offices. Clinics in fire stations, which would also employ some nurses, would not only relieve the looming overload, but could also sign people up for health insurance and help them find regular doctors. The first such center may open this year in a Hayward fire station.

In the meantime, Briscoe has also been thinking out-of-the-box about healthcare in schools. Forget the lone school nurse who gave you an aspirin and let you rest for an hour: Briscoe has been instrumental in opening 26 school-based health centers in Oakland middle schools, high schools, community colleges, and even an elementary school. “We want to make Oakland the first large urban school district in the country to guarantee universal access to primary care as a function of school enrollment.”

 

Read More of Our Innovation Almanac:
Stanford's Benign Mind Control
The Forever Clock
Bacteria Mapper
Fire Station Health Care

Cree: Building the Future
No More Double Clicking
A Friendlier Vibrator
SkyCube
Social Networking for Disaster Prep

 

Originally published in the April issue of San Francisco

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