TODAY’S MODERATOR: A new kind of 911

The abuse of 911 services has been much-covered, especially so-called “frequent flyers” who more or less use the calls as their primary health care. In many cities, costs are out of hand.

According to The Atlantic, Memphis is trying a new approach. "Since April, the city has been engaged in an experiment to take some pressure off the emergency dispatch system. A committee of civic, health-care, and faith leaders launched a program called Rapid Assessment Decision And Redirection (RADAR). For weekday daytime calls that are very likely to be non-emergent in nature, Memphis partners with a faith-based organization, Resurrection Health, to steer residents away from the ER and send health-care providers directly to them.

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“For calls redirected to RADAR, Memphis dispatches a city paramedic with a Resurrection Health doctor — in a car, not an ambulance — to evaluate the caller on site. … So far, the results are encouraging. Of about 400 runs since April, 58 percent of the emergency callers were diverted by RADAR away from the ER.”

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