Texas ambulance service MedStar partners with Lyft for low-acuity calls

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Fort Worth, Texas-based MedStar Mobile Healthcare is teaming up with rideshare company Lyft to help transport low-acuity patients to care sites without the use of an ambulance, according to NBC-5 News.

Under the program, patients undergo an extensive phone assessment by both certified emergency medical dispatchers and specially trained nurses to determine where they should go to receive treatment and if they need an ambulance to get there. If a patient's injuries are non-life threatening, the nurse may call the Lyft rideshare service to transport the patient to the medical facility instead of an ambulance, saving the patient — and MedStar  — time and money.

MedStar officials claim each ambulance dispatch costs approximately $450, while an entire month's Lyft service costs roughly $430, according to the report.

Officials said the collaboration with Lyft is one of the first of its kind in the country, but said they are certain other providers will soon employ similar services.

"Certainly [the patients'] safety is my first priority, and if they need an ambulance we're more than glad to send an [one]," said Betsy Acker, RN, a triage nurse at MedStar. "If they don't need one, they're clearly glad and grateful that I'm helping them get to a better location for their care."

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