Anaheim Paramedics Initiative Aims To Reduce Costs, ED Crowding
An Anaheim initiative that aims to cut costs and reduce emergency department visits by partnering nurse practitioners with paramedics could help reduce overcrowded waiting rooms, an issue that affects much of Southern California, USA Today reports.
Details of Initiative
Under the pilot program, which was modeled off of a similar effort in Arizona, nurse practitioners ride with paramedics on non-urgent calls. After ensuring no emergency care is necessary, they try to identify on-site treatment options that can help avoid an ED visit.
The one-year Anaheim pilot project -- which costs about $500,000 -- was established in conjunction with:
- An association of local fire agencies;
- Care Ambulance Service, a local ambulance company; and
- Kaiser Permanente.
According to Anaheim Fire Chief Randy Bruegman, between 35% and 38% of the department's annual medical assistance-related calls are deemed non-urgent. Such calls can quickly overcrowd EDs, according to USA Today.
Todd Newton, regional chief of emergency medicine at Kaiser, said the program aims to alleviate such stress. He added that the program could improve emergency care for patients.
Newton said that under the program, patients "don't have to come in. They don't have to wait," noting, "They are being treated in a comfortable setting. It opens up our beds for people who really need them."
Officials do not yet have a savings estimate, but they are currently tracking the program's progress (Smouse, USA Today, 8/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.