Rethinking EMTALA

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On the drive in this morning I heard an interesting idea being tested in Fort Worth Texas (isn’t that one of the highest health cost cities in the country?).  See the link here  


They are using EMTs as triage agents for patients who call 911 for an ambulance.  In many cases, the EMTs are telling patients, “you don’t need to go to the hospital.” If the patient insists on visiting the ER, and it is not an emergency, the EMT calls a cab.  


Policymakers should re-think how EMTALA  (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) gets operationalized and whether it needs some updating to encourage appropriate use of our scarce resources.   With the flu season upon us, there’s no better time to act than now!