Finally in the news this week, in Sedgwick County Kansas they are having their own budgetary problems. Officials there are concerned that there will be increased call times with fewer personnel allowed for in their budget. This is one of those common EMS problems talked about in the past and I’m sure we’ll be talking about it again in the future.
Funding Affecting EMS Response
In this particular case, Sedgwick County EMS officials had actually asked for an additional two new 12 hour crews at a cost of nearly $1 million. This was to address call volume issues and their not being able to stay up with national standards for response times. Sedgwick County is seeing a 3 to 5% increase in emergency medical services call volume year on year. They were going to quickly reach a point where they could no longer meet national response guidelines for getting their ambulances and services to patients.
This article is on a great interview with an emergency operations manager. The reporter is talking to him about how this is going to affect the public and what the public can do to change how they engage the emergency response system. I think that’s an important aspect of it.
Non-Traditional EMS Response Change
Emergency response is not just about bringing an ambulance to somebody’s house and taking them to the hospital. Emergency response is also about assessing the emergency and providing appropriate response to that emergency. Sending an ambulance to a stubbed toe may not be necessary when you might need that ambulance half an hour later to treat somebody who is a cardiac patient with a heart attack.
We have to deal with this by telling our public there are alternative ways to get treatment. Perhaps there is a way to get them some alternative transportation method when they call 911. Perhaps we call them a taxi to get them to an urgent care center for some stitches. These are things that, again, comes down to public education of what we do.
If we can educate our public on how we respond to emergencies and educate our public on how to appropriately use 911 then we may be able to cut back on some of the needless calls. I know that’s going to raise the acuity level of our calls. We’re going to end up with sicker patients but hopefully fewer patients. I urge you to take a look at this article and check it out. All that is over in the show notes at MedicCast.com/blog where you can follow-up on all three of these news items.
Follow up on the links for this news item and the additional resources in this episode’s shownotes — Amiodarone Reviewed and Episode 301.