Passport Health Plan announced today that America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is featuring its Improved Health Outcomes Program grant to the Louisville Metro EMS. Because many people were using Louisville, KY’s 911 call system for non-urgent needs, the system had become overwhelmed, and its ability to provide immediate response to people with life-threatening needs was in jeopardy. In 2010, Passport Health Plan provided a one-year, $50,000 grant to the Louisville Metro EMS through the iHOP to design a new and more effective way to help people access urgent and emergency care. Under the grant, Louisville EMS initiated the Priority Solutions Integrated Access Management (PSIAM) program which added a new level of service to the 911 call center to provide direct contact with a registered nurse for people with non-urgent needs such as flu symptoms or back pain. The nurse asks callers with non-urgent needs about their symptoms, helps them quickly obtain medical or dental care, and arranges transportation as needed.
Results of the new triage system were as follows for almost 4,500 calls received from August 2010 to August 2013:
More than 90% of calls were diverted from Louisville Metro EMS resources to some alternative type of response or transport
26% were referred to a resource other than an emergency room
11% were advised to seek care in 1-4 hours
5% were given home care instructions; another 3% were calls for patient assistance that were taken care of in the home without need for transport
3% were able to be transported to an alternative medical facility by taxi
Just 1% of triaged calls were sent back to the 911 system for standard emergent transport
The program was so successful that Louisville Metro EMS has not only continued to use the non-emergent triage system, but Louisville Metro Government agreed to support the program’s growth, adding another full-time staffer in the last fiscal year. Additionally, the program is now the centerpiece of a larger non-emergent patient care initiative supported by funds 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.
According to Mark B. Carter, Chief Executive Officer of Passport Health Plan, “The iHOP has been very successful by funding pilot programs that may not have been initiated without this support. This is just one more way in which Passport Health Plan reaches out to our community partners to improve quality and cost-effective medical care.”
“I’m all about best practice sharing. Kentucky needs innovation in outcomes. iHOP is a perfect example of solid bottom line results with a private/public partnership.” said Lawrence Kissner, Kentucky Medicaid Commissioner.
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