Pilot program looks to decrease number of unnecessary medical emergency runs

06/27/2018 03:12 PM

FRANKFORT – In Kentucky, the demand for Emergency Medical Services is increasing while reimbursements are decreasing.

To upturn this phenomenon, the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services implemented Kentucky’s first Mobile Integrated Health/Community Paramedicine Pilot Program on June 1, 2016.

The primary goal of the program is to fill unmet needs with untapped resources, reduce 911 utilization and hospital emergency department visits, and create partnerships within the community.

Members of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government heard from Kentucky Board of Medical Services Director Michael Poynter, about the Lexington Fire/EMS pilot program and how effective it has been in lowering the number of non-emergency runs.

“Just in the Lexington metro area, they informed that they made 25,000 calls in 2009,” said Poynter. “ In 2017, they made 48,000 calls, that’s roughly a seven percent increase each year on EMS calls. When they started their pilot program in late February, in the last four months, they’ve decreased their run volume 1,000 runs.”

It’s estimated that the pilot program has resulted in $750,000 in savings in lowering the number of EMS runs as well as $7.5 million in hospital stays.

Sen. Chris McDaniel questioned Kentucky Board of Medical Services Deputy Director Chuck O’Neill about the how the state and communities might go about recovering costs from people who are abusing the system with unnecessary emergency calls.

Rep Michael Meredith, R-Brownsville, suggested to Kentucky Board of Medical Services director Michael Poynter that the reason many people want emergency transportation is that they want to avoid long wait times at the hospital.

“There are a lot of folks in our area that are calling an ambulance when they could get to the emergency rook themselves, but, if you go by your automobile privately and you don’t go by an ambulance, you’re going to sit for four of five hours in that emergency rook because they’re so understaffed, they’re so backed up,” Meredith said.

In 2017, there were 913,800 EMS incidents across the Commonwealth of Kentucky for an average of 2,503.5 per day.

Patients 50 years and older accounted for 68 percent of EMS incidents.

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