Purpose: The accessibility of emergency medical services (EMS) for enrollees of managed care organizations (MCOs) is currently a topic of national debate. The mechanisms by which enrollees currently enter the EMS system have not been well described. The purpose of this study was to determine how these patients enter our EMS system.
Methods: All enrollees who belong to the region's largest MCO and who were transported to hospital EDs by the paramedic level municipal EMS department were identified from billing records. Members of the MCO are mandated to call the MCO prior to seeking any emergency care. Dispatch logs were then examined to determine the time and origin of the call to the 911 communications center. Patient care records were used to obtain patient age, the level of care (ALS vs. BLS), and whether the ALS patient received medications (ALS Meds).
Results: Over a six month period 195 enrollees were transported to EDs, Three modes of system entry were identified: Group I—enrollees who called 911 directly; Group II—enrollees who called the MCO triage center who then called 911 for the patient; and Group III—enrollees who were sent to the MCO center for evaluation and subsequently the MCO called 911 to transport the patient to the hospital.