Archives for October 9, 2009

A unique, dare I say “Progressive”, solution to EMS/ED Frequent Fliers

EMS/ED frequent fliers are both a bane and (supposedly) another cost of doing business for EMS systems.  Maybe not.

My city of Fort Worth is trying to do something about it, proactively and correctly (emphasis mine):

MedStar program sends paramedic to homes of some repeat callers before they dial 911 | Fort Wor…
FORT WORTH — Last year, MedStar was called more than 800 times by 21 people.

Those “frequent fliers” weren’t necessarily facing life-threatening emergencies. Some may have needed primary care but didn’t have a regular doctor or transportation.

The overuse of ambulance services can divert crews needed elsewhere and drive up costs for taxpayers. Calls from those 21 MedStar patients resulted in $962,429 in ambulance charges, as well as charges for emergency room care. Most of that will never be collected, a MedStar official said, because only 1 in 4 patients transported has insurance….

MedStar is trying to tackle the problem with a new program that sends a paramedic to the homes of some patients before they dial 911.

“We wanted to try and find a better way to keep some of these folks more healthy,” said Matt Zavadsky, MedStar operations director. “We wanted to keep from making transports that we could prevent, and we thought this was a group of patients that we could manage proactively rather than reactively.”

Out of those 21 people, MedStar picked nine to participate in the program.

Read the article, as it’s been a qualified success; while it would be optimal to include all the frequent fliers, reality intervenes.  As a practicing doc I haven’t missed anyone, but that’s a good thing.  I hope there’s enough money to continue this program, and to slowly expand it.

Good for MedStar.