Program reduces number of ambulance transports for minor emergencies

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A program by MEDIC allows ambulances to hold back on certain low-priority 911 calls.

Those include anything from minor traffic accidents to unknown problems.

In those cases, MEDIC waits for the Charlotte Fire Department or a CMPD officer to arrive to first assess if paramedics are needed.

[MEDIC tests new program that delays response time]

In April 2017, MEDIC officials said the program was an effort to reduce its number of transports and hold ambulances for more serious calls.

They tested it, and in February, the program was fully implemented across Charlotte.

MEDIC officials said it’s been able to respond to seven fewer 911 calls a day, which is the equivalent of one ambulance shift.

“I still don’t feel like it’s their call, like when a call comes in you respond to it,” one resident said. “They should have a smaller team trained for certain things like that.”

From February to October 2018, fire and police personnel were dispatched to 3,975 calls when ambulances were, at first, held back.

Of those calls, paramedics did end up responding to 2,542 calls, which is about 64 percent.

Out of those, they took 1,866 patients to the hospital.

[MEDIC's new headquarters open for business]

Most of those were a low priority.

Charlotte Fire Chief Reginald Johnson said Tuesday there are still areas wherein first responders can improve.

“We continue to work with MEDIC, CMPD,” Johnson said. “We continue to work with sheriffs as well to fine-tune it.”

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com: