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Residents who call 911 for immediate medical care could find themselves getting a lift from a rideshare to a local urgent care center instead of riding in an ambulance, sirens wailing, to the emergency room thanks to a pilot program Las Vegas Fire launched in Las Vegas. With more than two thirds of its roughly 600,000 annual calls being for medical assistance, the fire department was looking for ways to cut costs but not the level of support it supplies to people in need. Moving away from the knee-jerk reaction of sending an ambulance crew out on every call seemed a good place to start. When someone calls in now, they’re asked the nature of their complaint, like always. True emergency complaints are treated as they’ve always been—EMS responds in an ambulance and likely takes the patient to the ED—but urgent-level calls are transferred to triage nurse, who determines if the patient really needs to be seen “today,” aided by a series of scripted questions. If so, they’re advised to visit their doctor or an urgent care center. Patients who can’t arrange transportation for themselves are offered a rideshare service to help them get there. Triage nurses are on duty 9 am–6 pm every day. The fire department says the program will be assessed “when the money runs out.” If it’s deemed a success, the city council will look at making it a permanent solution.

Las Vegas Takes a Flyer on Phone Triage to Help Stem EMS Runs
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