Spokane Mayor David Condon today announced a new pilot program, Spokane Ride to Care, which provides alternative transportation and destinations for individuals that have “low-acuity” medical conditions.
According to a news release, Spokane Ride to Care is a non-emergency medical service that transports people with non-urgent issues to urgent care clinics in vehicles other than ambulances. Only individuals who have been thoroughly assessed by paramedics/emergency medical technicians and have been determined to have these low-level conditions are referred to the voluntary program, which is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days per week.
“Medical responses are the overwhelming majority of the calls the Spokane Fire Department receives for service, and non-emergency medical cases are the fastest growing call area,” said Mayor Condon said. “We are working with our community partners to advance how we provide medical services to meet the changing community needs and improve the quality of care.”
The number of low-acuity calls to the Fire Department were putting a strain on emergency healthcare resources and first responders, and adding to health care costs, according to Fire officials.
The pilot program will be evaluated after six months by the Spokane Regional Health District to determine if it is effective and meets the health care needs of people with low-acuity conditions.