2022 Health Care Heroes: Thea Kogler builds M Health Fairview's Community Paramedics program – Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal – The Business Journals

As a community paramedic with M Fairview Health since 2020, Thea Kogler builds relationships with patients who face barriers to accessing health care, such as advanced age, chronic health issues and lack of transportation. She works to reduce their emergency room visits by offering in-home care.
Within a year of joining the health system’s Community Paramedics program, Kogler drove its expansion from the west Twin Cities metro area to the east. To make this July 2021 service launch possible, Kogler cared for new patients, forged relationships with primary care providers, conducted media interviews, and trained the new east metro community paramedic.
Recently, when Kogler and the community health team noticed that the food boxes being offered to patients could better meet their individual needs, they partnered with M Health Fairview’s Community Advancement team to secure funding for culturally appropriate food.
Kogler has proven to be a constant source of fresh ideas that improve the health and well-being of the Twin Cities most vulnerable citizens.
Hot topic in my field: Filling the health care gaps in our health care system
Best stress reliever: Cuddling with my dogs
What has been your biggest professional accomplishment? This past year we expanded our Community Paramedic program to serve the east metro, which I was able to highlight on a local news channel. We have also collaborated with the primary care teams on many complex patient situations. I have so enjoyed getting to know all of the culturally unique needs based on adding this geographical region in the metro. We take pride in the Community Paramedic program in delivering resources directly to patients during our visits (pill boxes, scales, food boxes, etc.). We were able to work with our community outreach team to create culturally specific food boxes for the Southeast Asian, Eastern African and Latino diet, to name a few.
Looking back at the challenges of the past year, what was a bright spot? During the pandemic, so many patients at high risk were in isolation for a very long time. Being able to provide not only a clinical visit, but also helping them make social connections and continue with their health care was such a bright spot for myself and the patients.
What was the biggest challenge or low point? Biggest challenge is fulfilling the patients’ needs with the current staffing shortages for those high in-demand resources.
What was a key takeaway from the past year that will guide your perspective and/or actions going forward? Continuing to identify and address the unique needs of our communities and to continue to make connections for patients back to the primary care teams
Community paramedic, M Health Fairview
Education: Associate of Applied Science, accounting; Associate of Applied Science, paramedicine; Community Paramedic Certification
Volunteer activities: Minneapolis Fundraising Initiative
Join us for our second annual Health Care Heroes awards!
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