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Taking the extra step: Bloomington adds Mobile Integrated Healthcare Unit to fire department

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Posted at 5:13 AM, Feb 16, 2023

Bloomington — Going beyond the call to action, the city of Bloomington recently added a new resource to make sure residents in their city are taken care of.

“Our goal is to really just improve quality of life,” Shelby Wood said.

Wood and McKenna Terry are trailblazing Bloomington’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare Unit.

The duo is an extension of the fire department, they follow up with residents who may need extra assistance after an emergency call.

“They're (firefighters) running 911 emergency situations," Wood said. "And they're seeing people that need. They show up, they do their jobs. And then they go on to the next emergency, but we know a lot of times you know with patients after the emergencies happened that's really only in the beginning."

From helping people get a hot meal, a shower, mental health services or even finding a social group Wood said taking this job was a no brainer.

“I get to think medically, but then I get to think as a helping professional too, that's different from you know medical,” Wood said.

Terry worked EMS for years, she said it’s nice seeing the other side of patient care.

“I get to see the continuation of care and also what happens to that person," Terry said. "(I get to) follow up, which is awesome, because a lot of times with EMS (emergency services) we don't get that closure on some of our worst calls. It's like we drop them off and that's the end of it for us."

They work with other agencies in the city to connect patients to the care they need.

“Sometimes that's in the home (and) sometimes that's on the street, but we get to meet them where their need is,” Wood said.

The city of Bloomington is hiring two more Mobile Integrated Healthcare workers.

There are multiple Mobile Integrated Healthcare units across the state. The full map can be viewed at the bottom of the page linked here.

If you live in Bloomington and think you or a loved one could benefit from this service, you can call the fire department headquarters at (812) 332-9763 to connect with their team.