American Medical Response community paramedic John Perino, right, responds to a call in Modesto on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Perino is one of five community paramedics in Stanislaus county authorized to sidestep state regulation to help better serve the mentally ill here and ease the burden on overcrowded emergency departments through a pilot program of California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
American Medical Response community paramedic John Perino, right, responds to a call in Modesto on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Perino is one of five community paramedics in Stanislaus county authorized to sidestep state regulation to help better serve the mentally ill here and ease the burden on overcrowded emergency departments through a pilot program of California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Andy Alfaro aalfaro@modbee.com
American Medical Response community paramedic John Perino, right, responds to a call in Modesto on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Perino is one of five community paramedics in Stanislaus county authorized to sidestep state regulation to help better serve the mentally ill here and ease the burden on overcrowded emergency departments through a pilot program of California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Andy Alfaro aalfaro@modbee.com

Ken Carlson covers county government and health care for The Modesto Bee. His coverage of public health, medicine, consumer health issues and the business of health care has appeared in The Bee for 15 years.