Hospital district expands transportation options for patients

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Hospital district expands transportation options for patientsPatients who frequently call 911 for ambulance services will soon have a new, and more cost effective, medical transportation option through a Montgomery County Hospital District program. The program will contract taxi providers and use repurposed vehicles through a partnership with Harris County Rides.

This will reduce the cost of operating the district’s ambulance system by providing alternative transportation options for frequent ambulance users and indigent residents during non-emergency situations, said Andrew Karrer, MCHD community paramedicine coordinator.

“It [costs]about $750 to operate that ambulance for one transport,” Karrer said.  “The cost of a taxi ride is substantially lower than that. If we can reduce even a couple of
non-emergency calls per day, that affects the whole county.”

The hospital district and partner Montgomery County Meals on Wheels  are  hopeful the pilot will launch within the next two months.

“Mobility management is a very different concept from the normal transportation model,” said Adeolu Moronkeji, health care assistance program manager. “We’re looking at  clients’ needs and connecting them to existing resources for transportation.”

The hospital district is also implementing ResQCPR equipment, a life support system that uses a suction effect during CPR. The device is expected to be more effective than manual CPR in maintaining blood and oxygen flow during cardiac arrest, said Mark Escott, MCHD medical director.

“We were asked to be one of the first agencies to use [ResQCPR],” Escott said. “There are only 10 sites in the United States that will be on this initial device distribution.”

To ensure the devices reach the patient as fast as possible during an emergency, they will be included in local fire trucks and be operated by trained firefighters until paramedics arrive at the scene.

“We wanted to make it happen here as soon as we possibly could because we do believe it will be the most clinically significant thing we’ve done in years,” Emergency Medical Services Director Jared Cosper said.

MCHD has purchased 26 ResQCPR devices for $800 each, and will continue to purchase additional devices until every first response vehicle and ambulance in the county has one. First responders are training to use the device and will begin to use it in the field in September, Escott said.

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