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 ofabuse 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 afterallthat if we could firstcurepoverty, homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, domestic abuse, lack of primary care and education then we could perhapseliminate 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’dlike to hear about your experiences or insights.

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High Performance EMS

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.

Comments
Joey
Static v. Dynamic: A Continuum of Cost
There are pros and cons with each model but the bottom line comes down to optimizing your EMS system and delivering rapid care within a cost efficient model. I have always worked in a drama series called "housewives of a static system" as well as in a nationally recognized dynamic system and I can honestly…
2014-08-26 06:31:07
David
Static v. Dynamic: A Continuum of Cost
John Brophy is that you.... If having a sustainable funding source , money for research, proper equipment like power cots, video laryngoscopes, state retirement, community education funding, and not eating and pooping in a gas station makes me Emergency. Then Rampart I need orders for a lobotomy. If running more calls to bill Medicare and…
2014-08-23 18:41:36
David
Is ‘SSM’ Still a ‘Bad Idea’?
If it's such a great idea why hasn't Fire Dept embraced it?
2014-08-23 14:19:25
Todd
Static v. Dynamic: A Continuum of Cost
David...I agree with John and Roger. EMS is a business and we've got to start treating it that way. The days of sitting around the station waiting for a call have come and gone. To be efficient you've got to be out in your service where the calls happen. This is the future of EMS…
2014-08-23 13:55:46
John
Static v. Dynamic: A Continuum of Cost
I thought Johnny and Roy retired in the 70's. People with a mindset like yours are what keeps the paramedicine profession from evolving like the other emergency services have. The definition of insanity...doing the same things over and over expecting something different to happen.
2014-08-23 10:53:29

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