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
Rob Lawrence
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
i hope someone got patient consents. Did the GSW victim sign the forms? Hate to wake and anger the HIPPO monster!
2015-01-24 22:19:38
Sean Cerny
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
We run lights and sirens mandatory to most calls. There's a lot of non emergent calls as well and ALOT of etoh calls. Also on every shift almost there is a GSW somewhere if not multiple. It's a high volume service. The tv aspect Is certainly there but I think they did a good job.
2015-01-24 13:02:54
Steven
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
As a brother to one of the medics in the show, and also a fellow paramedic in new orleans, I can't stress enough that the fact that they only displayed one ETOH call is perfect to me. As you said, "this is the big easy" we run a cast majority of drunk calls, so many…
2015-01-23 15:54:29
keeley
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
My last 12hr shift i worked 2 codes and a gsw so it happens at NOEMS more often then people realize and again every city is different unfortunately we see GSWs almost on a daily basis. ..enjoy the season NIGHTWATCH 🚑🚑🚑
2015-01-23 15:07:39
Theaudric Davis
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
Brace yourself
2015-01-23 14:19:36

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