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With hospitals nearing capacity, Acadian Ambulance launches program to treat patients at home

Jessica Sevin, 31, EMT-Basic, Acadian Ambulance, left, and Alex Lapoint, 30, Paramedic Field Supervisor, Acadian Ambulance STAFF PHOTO BY HILARY SCHEINUK

Acadian Ambulance is offering an alternative delivery model for emergency medical service for patients who may not need transportation to a nearby hospital.

Posted: Jan 29, 2021 10:32 AM

The Advocate-Acadian Ambulance is offering an alternative delivery model for emergency medical service for patients who may not need transportation to a nearby hospital.

The company has worked with federal, state and local officials and health care providers to offer Treatment in Place, or Alternative Destination Transport, to allow EMS crews to offer solutions that best meet a patient’s needs, Acadian officials announced this week.

It follows the Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport program, or ET3, a pilot program from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in 2019 that is in the planning stages but was created to ease hospital overcrowding due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been working with federal and state officials for some time on this innovative delivery model, but the pandemic really moved it into high gear,” Acadian Ambulance President Justin Back said. “We are also working to support patient and provider engagement during this time and have been receiving calls from primary care providers to acilitate telehealth visits with their patients in crisis. I think much of the success is due to a high level of physician involvement and, of course, the great work of our highly trained and dedicated medics. We’re proud that our professionals in the field have embraced this new program and the flexibility to do what is in the best interests of our patients.”

The coronavirus pandemic continues to surge in Louisiana and is straining health care systems, Acadian officials said. Emergency ambulance crews are delivering patients to hospitals and emergency departments that are at or near capacity.

Since June about 200 patients a month have opted for Treatment in Place or Alternative Destination Transport following a live telehealth consultation with a physician, relieving pressure on local hospitals, Acadian officials said. Treatment in Place has been adapted by all five Medicaid programs, and commercial providers are also signing up.

“Quality and innovation are part of our core values,” Acadian Ambulance Chairman & CEO Richard E. Zuschlag said. “We continue to invest in growth and innovation to ensure Acadian Ambulance is an industry leader in the next generation of EMS. By continuing to develop meaningful partnerships with health plans, health systems and providers, we will continue to be a national leader in mobile healthcare, treating patients in the safety and comfort of their homes.”

CMS recently announced that ET3, which will provide Medicare patients with coverage for Treatment in Place and Alternative Destination Transports, is back on schedule. Acadian was one of 205 agencies nationwide selected for the pilot program and will begin participating next month.

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