Program Staff, Advisors & Volunteers
Advanced Practice Paramedic
Welcome to Responder Care™. We thank you for visiting and we hope you will take some time to look around and see what awesomeness we have created for Responders!
Being first to establish a Responder-focused EMS & MIH-CP capability, we are excited to navigate uncharted waters. But like others, you may be asking why would someone create such a program? For us, the pressing question that has kept us up at night has actually been, why not?
Let me explain...
Responders spend their careers taking care of us (the public) with few options for taking care of their own. Often overlooked, Responders represent a special population disproportionately vulnerable to acute and chronic injuries and illnesses (cancers, depression, etc.), often a result of keeping us safe. We all depend on Responders. And we have high expectations. But if we expect Responders to take good care of us, we must take better care of our Responders!
In December of 2022 we realized we must do more. So, in honor of our beloved colleague and friend Brian R. Hricik who was diagnosed with cancer, we sought to establish a charitable fund and EMS capability that would provide off-duty Responders the opportunity to provide Emergency Medical Services (EMS) & Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) - Community Paramedicine (CP) for fellow Responders, front-line emergency workers, and their families.
In broad strokes, EMS MIH-CP services would be delivered by a professional EMS cadre (career & volunteer), with medical operations falling under an existing private EMS Agency infrastructure. These services would neither supplant nor compete with existing public emergency 9-1-1 services or private medical resources, but would rather provide enhanced and alternative access to care not otherwise available.
From December 2022 until March 2023, we organized a team of paramedics to provide volunteer EMS & MIH-CP services for Brian, preventing numerous trips to the Emergency Department. Shortly after Brian died in March 2023, Responder Care™ officially launched as an EMERGILITY Special Program, with Fiscal Sponsorship provided by Global Impact, a 501(c)(3). While Brian is no longer with us, we honor him each and every time we care for a Responder.
So here we are. Now we need your HELP. We invite you to VOLUNTEER with and DONATE to this awesome charitable endeavor as we continue to help, serve, protect, and care for Responders who give so much to keep us safe and sound!
Anthony A. Barone, M.P.S., M.P.H., CBCP, NRP, PMP
Executive Director | Responder Care™
I was devastated the day Brian told me about his terminal diagnosis of metastatic pancreatic cancer. His friends, family, and colleagues rallied to help in any way possible from cleaning up the yard, getting new tires for Cindy’s Jeep, and making sure there was yummy food available. I don’t know how to operate a chainsaw without ending up with less piggies, work on cars unless you want things to stay broken, or cook anything edible that wouldn’t be considered cruel and unusual punishment, but I do know a little about medicine and I have a crazy business partner who is chocked full of crazy-smart ideas. The exchange went kind of like this:
“What if we could help Brian avoid just one single Emergency Room (ER) visit?” We figured at some point, despite access to the leading medical specialists, Brian would feel bad enough that he might need to go to the ER. We agreed to offer EMERGILITY™ EMS services at no charge to the family with the aim of addressing acute emergency medical needs and to avoid unnecessary ER visits.
Ancient Epictetus warned “if you want to improve, be content to be thought of as foolish and stupid.” Working with his hospital-based medical team, an all-volunteer EMS medical staff, and donated supplies and infrastructure from EMERGILITY™, we were able to help Brian avoid going to the ER more than nine (9) times in just a few short months. That was nine (9) times Brian and family didn’t have to visit an overcrowded ER, wait hours for care, or spend time apart from friends and loved ones.
Steve Jobs believed “You have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing because it is so hard any rational person would give up” but extolled “those people crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who actually do.”
In our sorrow and search for meaning, a new question emerged “What if we could help other first responders in times of need avoid one (1) single ER visit?” With Brian and Cindy’s blessing, the Responder Care™ program began taking form and the idea of “responders, Bringing Responders Help” took shape in Brian R. Hricik’s honor.
Although I cherished the thought of keeping Brian comfortable and avoiding the ER, the inexorable march of time and disease still led him down a path to home hospice care and finally, eternal peace.
With the support of donors, volunteers, corporate wisdom from KPMG and Global Impact, the Responder Care™ program strives to translate Brian’s experience into a sustainable program where we can provide a compliant mechanism for responders to provide clinical care for each other in times of need, at no cost to the responder. A single unnecessary ER visit or emergency 9-1-1 call otherwise avoided for any one patient would be considered a success.
The Responder Care™ program does not replace any existing service including the ER, hospital, primary medical team, public 9-1-1, or hospice program, but rather provides enhanced and alternative access care and improved patient comfort. In Brian’s honor and loving memory, the Responder Care™ program seeks to take care of other emergency services providers and responders who sacrifice tremendously by taking care of us.
A burning desire to turn tragedy into purpose propels us. Help us help those who give so much. Join our team, donate, or refer us deserving patients who you think would benefit. Help us honor Brian by carrying on his legacy of reducing health care disparities and take care of those who never ask for recognition but always stand the wall with dedication that speaks softly: “Sleep well. We got this. No one will suffer alone in the darkness.”
J. Benji Marfori, M.D. FACEP, FAEMS
Medical Director | Responder Care™