American Medical Response Implements Innovative ET3 Pilot Program

ET3 Program Aims to Improve Quality, Lower Costs and Reduce Avoidable Emergency Department Transports
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Aug. 11, 2021 - PRLog -- An innovative new federal program being implemented in Knox County by American Medical Response (AMR) will mean many people needing emergency medical care will get it more quickly, potentially from a more appropriate source, and at a much lower price. Knox County is among the first places in the nation to implement this new system.

AMR, the nation's largest ambulance provider, has been selected as a participant to implement the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport (ET3) AMR , a Global Medical Response (GMR) company, is the largest participant under the ET3 program with a total of 62 of the 184 selected participants..

The CMS program is focused on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) patients only, but AMR has chosen Knox as the pilot site for all payors.  This is an AMR investment in the community of Knoxville and in support of the ET3 program, with the goal of securing more payor engagement before the 1 year pilot expires.

ET3 is an innovative, five-year program aimed at providing greater flexibility for ambulance care teams to address emergency healthcare needs of Medicare FFS beneficiaries following a 911 call. AMR paramedics and EMTs will assess patients on-site and determine if the patient meets the criteria fortreatment in place via telemedicine or transported to a lower acuity alternative destination, such as a local urgent care.

Here are the basics. When someone calls 911 and asks for an ambulance, AMR will provide one as called for in the contract. When the crew arrives, they will triage the situation. Currently more than 40% of calls are "low acuity" meaning the patient does not need an emergency room. Those patients will be offered a chance to be treated by the EMTs and paramedics, or have a telemedicine visit with a doctor who may recommend treatment or transport to an alternative destination, like a doctor's office or urgent care center. Utilizing an alternative destination would save the patient money, as an Emergency Room visit in Tennessee averages more than $1,800. In part, that is because of the required staffing and equipment, which many of these patients do not need.

Josh Spencer, AMR's Southeast Regional Director said the ET3 program is an innovative way to provide the most appropriate care for patient needs. "AMR is proud to be a part of this program, improving and personalizing healthcare for thousands. Knox has been live with the ET3 program since 8 March, but the program will be payor agnostic effective August 12th.

"We look forward to seeing the benefits this program brings to those seeking care in Knox County," said Senior Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan. "Every patient is different, and this is an opportunity to allow ambulance care teams to provide more individualized care at a lower price to the patient."

"These are important first steps in improving a national system that has gone far too long without being updated for a new age," said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. "This will help get people the most appropriate care, often at a much lower price."

"Personalizing healthcare and providing more care options is always good for patients," said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. "Some KFD firefighters view ET3 as a potential game-changer – one of the biggest advances in ambulance services since the 1970s."

"We look forward to working with AMR to help provide this innovative new alternative for emergency medical care to the Knoxville Community," said Mike Belbeck, Executive Vice President, Operations, of Covenant Health.

"Whether someone needs treatment in the field, at an urgent care location or in an emergency department, this program allows patients to receive the appropriate level of care in the location that best meets their needs," said David Hall, Executive Vice President at The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

"It is always in a patient's best interest to receive the right services delivered safely at the right time and the right location," said Tony Benton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tennova Healthcare's East Tennessee Market. "We are pleased to partner with AMR to provide greater flexibility for ambulance personnel as well as improve access to appropriate urgent and emergency medical care for patients across Knox County.

Ted Van Horne, GMR Chief Operating Officer, said the company shares CMS's vision of improving quality, increasing access, and lowering costs for patients and payors. "We're very proud CMS has chosen to work with us on such a large-scale program that dovetails with our own commitment to finding innovative solutions to the problems facing patients and healthcare providers alike." chose Knox County for this unique opportunity because of the quality of the operation and that fact it allows this new effort to be tested on all three populations: urban, suburban, and rural.

"This is the future of the system, everybody knows that," said Spencer. "This marks a move away from the 'You call, we haul' system and towards faster, more appropriate, more economical care.

Mike Cohen
Cohen Communications Group
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Tags:Healthcare, Ambulance
Location:Knoxville - Tennessee - United States
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