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911 program could ease emergency room problems

USA Today, June 1, 2010
Hoping to ease crowded emergency rooms and trim ambulance runs, Louisville Metro Emergency Medical Services has launched a program that aims to screen low-priority calls and divert patients from hospitals into more appropriate healthcare. Under the program, which started April 19, a small number of the lowest priority calls are being turned over to a nurse who is able to spend time with the patient on the phone to figure out appropriate treatment, which may not include a trip to an emergency room in an ambulance. The program, which is among the first of its kind in the nation, is widely used in the United Kingdom and Australia, says Jeff Clawson, medical director for the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch.