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Renton Fire & Emergency Services to Offer New Taxi Transport Voucher Pilot Program

December 3, 2010

Mark Peterson
, Fire Chief/Emergency Services Administrator 425-430-7000
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569

RENTON – The Fire and Emergency Services Department is proud to be chosen to participate in an innovative 9-month pilot program being conducted by King County Emergency Medical Services and the University of Washington. This pilot program is designed to study ways to increase the efficiencies of firefighters/basic life support (BLS) providers while saving money for patients and health insurers.

It has been determined that 42.2% of the emergency medical calls firefighters/BLS providers in King County respond to are non-critical in nature. Of those responses, 85.2% are being transported by ambulances for treatment in local hospitals/emergency rooms. A ride in an ambulance can cost hundreds of dollars. While some insurance benefits cover this charge, many do not and there can be a costly co-payment that becomes the responsibility of the patient and/or insured.

Under the pilot program, firefighters and EMS providers will use clearly defined Patient Care Protocols criteria to determine if a patient’s condition suggests follow-up medical care is necessary but is not serious enough to warrant an emergency response to the nearest hospital. Patients meeting this criteria would then qualify for transport via taxi and would be offered a free voucher to cover the round trip to and from the medical provider of their choice.

The benefits and objectives of this study are to determine under what circumstances to provide an alternative mode of transportation for non-critical patients, thus keeping firefighter/BLS units available for more serious EMS and fire calls, shortening response times and creating a noticeable savings in the reduced cost of ambulance fees for both patients and insurers.

For more information about the Taxi Transport Pilot Program contact Lieutenant Craig Soucy at 425-430-7100.