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Christian Hospital Begins New Policy on 911 Calls this week

By Carol Arnett

Christian Hospital is implementing a new procedure for dealing with emergency calls in North County. The new program is called the Community Health Access Program (CHAP), The program went into effect Monday, Feb. 3.

At the Florissant Council Meeting last week, Chris Cebollero, chief EMS at Christian, explained the new program to the council.

CHAP is a way of addressing problems in order to lessen emergency room visits, Cebollero said. He said that approximately 47% of calls to EMS are not true emergencies. If a person is taken to the ER, there is not follow-up care. Because of this, many patients end up calling 911 or visiting the ER repeatedly.

Previously, Cebollero explained, if someone called 911 with a complaint of shortness of breath, the first responder always offered to take the patient to the hospital. Now, they will be able to treat the patient in their home, take the patient to the Health Resource Center or make an appointment with the patient’s doctor. The program has reached out to doctors to ask them to fit patients referred by the program into their schedule the same day or the next day. in

Another change will be the implementation of home visits, conducted by specially trained Advanced Practiced (AP) paramedics. These visits are designed to help reduce the number of repeat visits to the ER by the same patient.

Cebollero gave the example of a patient with diabetes. This patient may make seven or eight visits to the ER in a

year in order to have blood work and get prescriptions renewed. Under the CHAP program, the program will get the patient to the Health Resource Center or call their primary care physician to set up an appointment so the patient can learn to manage the disease without calling 911 or visiting the ER. If necessary, home visits can be made.

The two Health Resource Centers are at Christian Hospital and Northwest Healthcare. The centers will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. No walk-up patients will be accepted; they will be used for this program.

The program will also follow up with patients who have left the hospital. They will work with the patient to make sure they are getting follow-up care if necessary. Again, the goal will be to help the patient avoid recurring 911 calls and ER visits.

One unique aspect of Christian’s program, Cebollero said, was the input from members of several different areas of the hospital. The planning committee included financial specialists, doctors, nurses, EMTs, patient services workers, and hospital administrators.

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