A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Grant helps channel non-emergency 911 calls in Louisville; receives national attention

Louisville’s Passport Health Plan has received national recognition for its Improved Health Outcomes Program grant to the Louisville Metro Emergency Management Services.
The one-year $50,000 grant through the Improved Health Outcomes Program was given to the EMS to design a more effective way for people to access urgent emergency care than call 911. The 911 call system was being overwhelmed with non-urgent calls.
Using the grant, Louisville EMS started the Priority Solutions Integrated Access Management program which added a new level of service to the 911 call center to provide direct access to a registered nurse for people with non-urgent needs such as flu symptoms or back pain. The nurse speaks to the callers about their symptoms and helps them quickly obtain medical or dental care and transportation if needed.
The new system meant that more than 90 percent of incoming 911 calls ended up being diverted from the EMS to an alternative type of response or transport, including 26 percent who were referred to a resource other than the emergency room. Only 1 percent of the triaged calls were sent back to the 911 system for ambulance transport.
The program was so successful that Louisville Metro Government added another full-time staffer and another larger non-emergency patient care initiative has been launched through a grant from a Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Delivery Team grant.
“What we’ve done with PSIAM is add a second level of much more in-depth triage for some calls to allow for treatment in a non-emergent fashion. Examples of these types of calls include those for flu-like symptoms or migraine headaches,” said Kristen Miller, chief of staff for Louisville Metro EMS.

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