Right Response: EMS initiative breaking down barriers to health care options

Emergency Medical Services

Right Response: EMS initiative breaking down barriers to health care options

September 8, 2017. Memphis Daily News

“A couple of years ago the Memphis Fire Department determined that the non-emergency calls were really bogging down the system,” said Justin Entzminger, director of Innovate Memphis. “Last year alone, out of approximately 130,000 ambulance runs, about 25,000 or more were non-emergencies.”

So Innovate Memphis partnered with Memphis Fire and EMS to develop solutions. An IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant for $500,000 of in-kind technical assistance resulted in a deep study of the issues and recommendations.

The first pilot program addresses the “high utilizer” group, identified as people who call 911 for EMS services more than four times per week.

“We identified more than 350 people who were over-utilizing the system,” Sweat said. “Many of them had a variety of health care needs that were not being met by just a trip to the emergency room, and that was creating a revolving-door effect.”

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