If you are on Standard Medicare you can now ask to have an ambulance take you to your primary care physician, to an urgent care facility or to directly administer aid to you, if appropriate.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they will be using a more flexible model that will allow emergency transportation providers, after a 911 telephone call, to take a patient to their primary care doctor or to administer urgent care in place if the person does not need Emergency Room (ER) care.  The goal of this program is to reduce the number of unnecessary emergency room visits

In most cases, current regulations require that emergency transportation after a 911 call must take patients to the Emergency Department of a nearby hospital. By eliminating unnecessary ER visits Medicare beneficiaries and Medicare will have less economic exposure, and the recipients will avoid the distress of spending hours in an ER.   

This new model named Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) will allow participating ambulance suppliers and providers to partner with clinical providers to deliver treatment in place when appropriate. Treatment can be either on-the-scene or through telehealth. When such treatment is not, but the condition does not require immediate transportation to an Emergency Department, the model would allow the ambulance to deliver the patient to alternative destination sites such as primary care doctors’ offices or urgent-care clinics.

The details and how this new model is carried out is vital.   

We hope that CMS will provide the proper safeguards to ensure that people with Medicare receive appropriate care when they face a medical emergency. Cancer ABCs welcomes efforts to keep people out of the ER, but only when it is safe for the patient.  We will need to monitor this new program