LAFAYETTE, La.- Emergency ambulance crews are delivering patients to hospitals and emergency departments that are at, or very near, capacity, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to Acadian Ambulance, a new EMS delivery model is relieving some of the strain on hospitals, while helping low-acuity patients receive the care they need in a faster, more efficient, and more convenient manner.
The company said it has been working with federal, state, and local officials and healthcare providers to offer alternatives for patient care when a trip to the hospital may not be necessary.
The new models, known as Treatment in Place or Alternative Destination Transport, allow EMS crews to offer solutions that best meet patients’ needs, the company said in a statement Wednesday.
If the patient’s condition warrants emergency department care or the patient prefers to go to the hospital, crews will continue to make that transport.
“We know that many 911 callers can be cared for in their homes or at the scene of an emergency,” Acadian Ambulance Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chuck Burnell said.
He said he believes this is major forward in providing the most appropriate care to the patient.
“Our paramedics and EMTs consult with a physician via telehealth, provide the necessary care and then help arrange follow-up appointments with a primary care provider. Other patients may need to see a provider, but not necessarily require an ED visit. They are better served in the urgent care or physician’s clinic, or a behavioral health facility,” Burnell said.
Since June 2020, these programs have been available to residents of Louisiana under an emergency measure of the declared Public Health Emergency. CMS recently announced that ET3, which will provide Medicare patients with coverage for Treatment in Place and Alternative Destination Transports, is back on schedule.
Acadian Ambulance was one of 205 agencies nationwide selected for the pilot program and will begin participating in February 2021.