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State Senate bill to reduce emergency medical services modeled after Kent program

Sen. Karen Keiser - Courtesy photo
Sen. Karen Keiser
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday in Olympia modeled after the successful FD Cares program developed by the Kent Fire Department.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

Senate Bill 5145, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser-D, Kent, allows fire departments throughout the state to use the FD Cares model to connect 911 callers with non-emergency needs as a way to get access to community services. The goal is to improve health outcomes while reducing waste and expenses.

“The FD Cares program will help people connect with the appropriate level of health care and social services needs in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said Keiser in a Senate Democrats media release. “It will keep residents with chronic health needs from going to the emergency room, and that keeps down costs.”

The program connects callers in non-emergency situations to primary care providers, health care professionals, low-cost medication programs and other social services.

FD Cares programs must measure, at least annually, the reduction of repeated use of 911 emergency systems and reduction of avoidable emergency room trips attributable to the program. Results containing these findings must be reported to the Legislature or local governments upon request. Such findings should include the estimated amount of Medicaid dollars not spent as a result of any reduction in emergency room visits attributable to the program.

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