Maryland

Local S.W.I.F.T program aims to lower non-emergency visits to PRMC

Local S.W.I.F.T program aims to lower...

SALISBURY, Md. - A $95,000 grant awarded to the Wicomico County Health Department is being used to help lower hospital visits in the area, and that's because it is going directly to the new Salisbury Wicomico Integrated First Team, or SWIFT.

SWIFT got started Monday and the goal is to help the people who call 911 for non-emergency issues, something that may happen more than you think.
911 is the first number people learn for when they find themselves in an emergency, but local hospitals are seeing a troubling trend.

"The state of Maryland is saying the ER is not the place for the large majority of things that are happening nor is the hospital," says PRMC's Executive Director of Population Health, Kathryn Fiddler.

Salisbury Fire Department's EMS receives over 2,000 non-emergency calls for assistance every year.
More than two-thirds of those calls end up with an ambulance ride to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.
That's why the Salisbury Wicomico Integrated FirstCare Team or SWIFT was created.

"An EMT and a registered nurse, RN, would go out to a patient's home if they noticed they used the health care system too many times and called 911. And they would go out and say 'hey I noticed you've called 911 several times over the past month, what's going on?' and they would sit down and really find out what was driving the problems with that patient," explains Fiddler.

It's a way to lower the number of ambulance rides and hospital visits locals take for non-emergency issues.

"We started looking at who's calling five or more times in the past six months. What we found in the first list, there was one individual who called 911 20 times in 30 days."

It's about finding the right care for those types of individuals who don't know where else to go and at the right time.

"If individuals come to us for things that could be managed at their primary care at their specialist things such as heart failure, diabetes management chronic obstructive pulmonary disease asthma in kids, those kinds of things we should have done a better job yesterday. We should have worked with them got them to a physician earlier," Fiddler adds.
We're told SWIFT is hoping for a 20 percent reduction in non-emergency calls in its first year by helping 100 locals and then raising that number to about 250 people in the years following.

We're told SWIFT is hoping for a 20 percent reduction in non-emergency calls in its first year by helping 100 locals and then raising that number to about 250 people in the years following.


More Stories in the News