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Shawnee County 911 calls may change

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Shawnee County commissioners plan to vote on a program that could change the way 911 calls are handled.

911 calls need a wide range of resources, and in the past valuable resources were sent to the caller’s location, when they were most needed somewhere else.

The Nurse Browser changes that. The program was created by American Medical Response to provide everyone who calls 911 with the right care. If the call is termed a lower equity call, i.e. a lower level emergency, such as illness or non-life injury, they will be put through a Nurse Navigator to guide them through the best steps for their care.

“Usually within 3 questions, is this a true EMS emergency response? Is anyone having a heart attack? Is anyone having a stroke? Is anyone bleeding? So typically it takes less than 30 seconds, if it’s a lower capital call, it takes about 90 seconds,” said Global Medical Response Regional Director Jon Atrim.

The program will be implemented to save resources such as emergency vehicles.

“They will still send fire trucks for certain calls, but for navigation calls from nurses, those calls we shouldn’t be sending,” Shawnee County Emergency Management’s Nelson Casteel said.

AMR believes that by implementing this program, it would not detract from service to others, but would actually improve it for some people.

“I don’t think we are reducing service, in fact, I think we are going to improve services, especially for some of these underprivileged communities who rely on ambulance and emergency care as their primary health care,” Atrim said.

Initiating this program seems necessary to AMR officials.

“When you look at 30,000 calls and about 6-8,000 of them are low capital calls, that’s a pretty significant number,” Atrim said.

The current plan is for Shawnee County Commissioners to vote on whether or not to install the program at their meeting this Thursday at 9:00 a.m.

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