Medicare and Medicaid patients needing medical care through Arlington’s emergency-medical system now have more options for their ultimate destination.
The Arlington County Fire & Rescue Department on April 16 launched participation in the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport (ET3)” initiative. It is one of 250 departments nationwide selected to participate.
In a nutshell, the initiative gives local emergency-response personnel the ability to transport patients to a facility most in line with their health needs. The patient might be given the option of being transported to an urgent-care facility or specialty medical office, if appropriate, where costs are significantly lower than at an emergency room.
“Comparison studies show that treatment at urgent-care centers can be up to 50 percent less than the cost of the same care at conventional hospitals for appropriate medical conditions,” county officials said.
A future phase of the initiative, slated for implementation later in the year, will allow county paramedics to treat patients in their own homes – without transport to medical facilities – in certain circumstances. The county staff would work through a telemedicine consultation with an appropriate health practitioner in making the determination.
For information on the initiative, see the Website at https://innovation.cms.gov/innovation-models/et3.