You are walking along the streets of Anaheim—looking at the Matterhorn in the distance and day dreaming of Mickey Mouse—and you trip on a rock, slicing open your palm on the sidewalk. For the most part you’re fine, but your friend calls 911 at the sight of blood.
The City of Anaheim’s Community Care Response Unit (CCRU) is a service designed to handle non-acute medical needs of citizens—everything from stitches to diabetic problems, to animal bites, and more—by sending a specialized response team to the scene. This team includes a nurse practitioner and a fire captain/ paramedic with particular training to triage injuries on the scene, eliminating a trip to the emergency room in many, if not most, cases.
Typically, a 911 call means not only an ambulance, but also a fire truck and multiple emergency personnel. For minor injuries and non-emergency medical issues, this whole barrage of EMS personnel is both unnecessary and ties up personnel who may be needed at a more dire situation.
Urgent Care on Wheels
When emergency calls come through the Anaheim 911, they are routed either to the CCRU or to regular emergency services, depending on the type of emergency. If it is low-level, non-urgent medical requests, then the CCRU is dispatched.
Examples of the types of calls CCRU can respond to include:
- Abdominal pain & problems
- Allergy related symptoms
- Animal bites
- Back pain (non-traumatic)
- Diabetic problems
- Eye problems
- Leg pain
- Upper respiratory infection
These non-urgent medical calls are common, and by sending out this specialized team, resources are reserved for larger emergencies such as car accidents, fires, and rescues.
Upon arrival, the CCRU provides an on-site evaluation, treatment, coordination of care, and/or referral to the patient(s). A paramedic engine/truck level response can be requested any time the CCRU crew feels the patient would benefit by being transported to a hospital’s emergency department. Alternatively, the CCRU crew can be called upon if after assessment, the paramedic believes the patient would benefit from the care of a nurse practitioner instead of typical emergency response and transport to the ER.
In the first year of the program, the CCRU treated over 300 patients and kept 51% from being transported to the ER.
“When treating patients in their homes, we can create a positive patient experience and minimize future unnecessary trips to the hospital,” David Nunley, Risk Manager with the City of Anaheim commented.
The City of Anaheim received the 2017 EAGLE Award for Excellence in Implementation of New Risk Management Programs.