EMS “Frequent Flyer” Abuse

A recent article at JEMS.com on EMS System Abuse told of examples of “frequent flyers” (that is non-emergency patients requesting multiple transports by EMS agencies on a fairly regular basis) many of which would be amusing if they weren’t so sad. The author offered up that while it is a serious practice of abuse by the public, it is also a problem with no solution. Perhaps, however, that is somewhat of an over-simplification as the article did suggest after all that if we could first cure poverty, homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, lack of primary care and education then we could perhaps eliminate the indiscriminate use of emergency services.

From a quick review of the solutions implemented in the past by multiple agencies to avoid abuses involving non-emergency transport including taxi vouchers, bus passes, referrals to physician offices, etc. which have been implemented and then often abandoned it is clear that the problem is not easily solved.  The fear of litigation for under estimating the urgency of a call is a strong motivator to permit these abuses, but that also comes at a cost.

While it may be easy for those who are not responsible for managing the budget to say it simply can’t be solved, can agency management continue to utilize resources in an inefficient manner indefinitely by weighing the cost of a potential lawsuit as the cost justification? How does a High-Performance EMS agency balance the unfettered demand for transport with optimization of services to control costs? We’d like to hear about your experiences or insights.

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High Performance Emergency Medical Services (HP-EMS) systems provide effective clinical care promoting positive patient outcomes and community wellness while maintaining a focus on improving economic efficiency of the system.  This site is dedicated as a community seeking to increase agency performance by promoting useful information regarding the developing trends and improvements in the efficiency of delivering basic and advanced medical care in the field.

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Comments
Gloria Bowman
In Support of Backboards
At a swimming pool, the use of a backboard is the most efficient and safest way for the lifeguards to remove an unconscious/submerged (non-spinal) victim from deep water. After the person has been rescued and brought to the side of the pool, the assisting lifeguard holds the victim in place while the primary lifeguard puts…
2015-04-17 22:03:38
Dennis Dudley
In Support of Backboards
Don't throw away the back board yet! You can have all the discussions regarding it's validity but I am in favor of keeping it on board the rig. Scoop stretchers and Reeves are good and I have used them in place of the board, but I find the sturdy back board as a good way…
2015-04-17 14:03:34
Tom Horne
In Support of Backboards
Did you hit the post button prior to being ready. It seams like your comment was cut off in mid sentence. -- Tom
2015-04-17 13:13:16
Sally S
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
I really, really, really like this show NIGHT WATCH---I sooooo hope you bring it back for another season-----PLEAS! PLEASE! PLEASE!
2015-04-11 19:41:08
VickiG (@EMTP513)
In Support of Backboards
I don't care, as long as it doesn't harm the patient. I started my career as a witness of a person who had a medical trauma occur. I was 13 and she was 7, and I was watching her die in front of my face. I didn't care what they did as long as it…
2015-04-11 14:50:31

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