‘Urgent care on wheels’: Fire departments rescuing patients from costly ER trips

From the Observer:

For decades, people have been trained to call 911 for help but now overwhelm firefighters and paramedics with calls that aren’t true emergencies.

“What we are doing now is not good medicine,” said Robert Holman, interim medical director for D.C. Fire and EMS, which is planning to expand mobile health programs. “These sore throats, bladder infections and, believe it or not, mosquito bites do not need to go lights-and-sirens through city traffic.”

In one of the more established programs, the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Arizona, added nurses in its 911 center to help assess the urgency of calls and partnered with a hospital to send nurse practitioners with EMS staff on house calls.

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