Mount Sinai's new way of keeping low-acuity patients out of the ED

New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System has started a program offering telehealth services to patients with less severe conditions who call 911, making it the first system in the state to do so. 

The program aims to free up space in the emergency department, particularly during surges of illnesses, and save patients time and money, according to a Dec. 6 news release shared with Becker's. It is part of a federal pilot program called Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport, or ET3. Under the program, a Mount Sinai ambulance will arrive when someone calls 911 and conduct a standard patient assessment. If the EMS crew determines a patient does not require emergency care, they will use tablets to connect the patient to the Mount Sinai command center. 

After the first few months, the program will expand beyond telehealth services and be able to connect patients to urgent care and behavioral health services. 

"911 is no longer equal to an emergency department visit," said Kevin Chason, DO, medical director of the EMS group at The Mount Sinai Hospital. "Now a mobile medical team can offer more patient-centered options, and in the future it could connect patients to services in addition to telemedicine or urgent care, such as bringing patients to places like a dialysis center or primary care office." 

By early 2023, the health system anticipates all its ambulances will be equipped with the telehealth service and involve all seven of its EDs. Mount Sinai said it anticipates the program to continue beyond the five-year pilot phase and that eventually, all EMS services in the region will be able to offer the service for 911 calls. 

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