UCM Digital Health Partners with Empress EMS to provide mobile integrated health: available in Rockland

Photo of Keith Algozzine, PA-C

UCM Digital Health (UCM), a leading digital health and telehealth provider, including a 24/7 emergency medicine triage, treatment, and navigation service, has come together with Empress Emergency Medical Services (Empress) to effectively provide mobile integrated health in the Rockland County area. This collaboration will provide it through a combination of virtual and hands-on medical care in a patient’s home, place of work, or wherever they are when care is needed.

Empress and UCM are working together to direct patients away from unnecessary emergency room, urgent care, and hospital visits. This partnership empowers Empress to serve as an extension of UCM Digital Health when it is determined that hands-on care is needed for a patient. If UCM concludes that in-person treatment is required during a virtual consult, a paramedic provided through Empress EMS will be deployed to the patient’s location. 

UCM Digital Health was founded in 2015 by emergency clinicians Keith Algozzine, PA-C and Michael Bibighaus, M.D., in an effort to combine healthcare and technology who continue to run the operations of the company. Although the company was founded six years ago, they’ve been working as a team for about twenty years.

 Rockland County Times spoke with UCM Digital Health CEO Keith Algozzine about their company’s journey so far. Although the company was founded six years ago, they’ve been working together for fourteen years. He said, “There’s nothing like the E.R. If you don’t work in the ER, you don’t realize how special it is.” Algozzine also stressed the importance of having other additional options of medical visitations aside from going to the ER. “Patient’s love the ER so much, but it has this fatal flaw of being incredibly costly. So we had created something patients love as much as the ER, but instead have it fit into a more affordable and convenient health care system.” 

Paramedics may be sent to the patient’s location for several reasons, including checking vital signs, performing a physical examination, assessing social health determinants, and even conducting critical diagnostic tests, including checking blood glucose levels and performing an EKG. Additionally, higher-risk patients can receive elevated assessments if a diagnosis is unclear and further assistance is needed. Escalated actions might include intravenous treatments, oral or nebulized medications, splinting, or bandaging a severe wound.

This mobile integrated health program reinforces UCM Digital Health’s partner approach and allows best-in-class, innovative healthcare solutions to integrate into the UCM platform and ultimately benefit the patient. This model reduces cost, increases access, and improves quality by helping patients get the care they need on their own terms.

“Working in partnership with the team of exceptional medical practitioners from UCM will offer an innovative approach to provide enhanced care in our communities,” says Jim O’Connor, vice president of corporate development, Empress EMS. “As the need for expanded access to healthcare continues to evolve, our combined team will be perfectly positioned to deliver these valuable services in-person and on time.”

“This partnership benefits the patient by providing a high level of care, where and when they need it,” said Marla Moskal, vice president of marketing, UCM Digital Health. “We’ve received a lot of fantastic patient feedback regarding the tremendous value our patients are experiencing from this offering. Patients are amazed when we offer to send someone to their homes. In fact, one patient stated that she felt the care she received was better than a visit to her local hospital. Just as important, she also felt safer having avoided added exposure to illness.”

The service has been deployed in New York, and UCM plans to continue to expand the program nationally in the coming year, including in the Rockland County area.