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
Brett Snow
We Need Some New Stories
I have been in the fire/ems service for 26 years and was the youngest certified paramedic in the State of Nevada at the time I began. I learned from the best and never became an "SOP" paramedic. I treated my patients with knowledge gained from personal experience and lessons learned from myself as well as…
2015-03-19 16:18:54
EJS
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
What they said is pretty much true. Medics do the majority of things the er will do. I do ems and lots of time in an er. The er for about 90% of pts er will do the same stuff ems will do except just having a doctor tell the pt they are healthy. Yes…
2015-03-12 22:00:54
Thomas Roberts
Impressions of the Ferno iN/X
We've done some pretty substantial research on offerings from both Stryker and Ferno. What we've found is information that is both in line and conflicting with some of the prior comments on this page. The Stryker power cot is a heavier device in comparison to their old manual cots, however you can't compare the Stryker…
2015-03-04 09:13:07
WES
Impressions of the Ferno iN/X
Anybody know the price of the new ferno system?
2015-02-12 20:36:38
Paul
Is ‘SSM’ Still a ‘Bad Idea’?
I think that the majority of you that talk about a unit sitting on a dirty street corner for 12 hrs at a time don't realize that if they are doing that, the system doesn't need SSM.
2015-02-05 09:33:18

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