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GVFD chiefs head to D.C. to share new program

Posted at 10:42 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 00:50:13-05

GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Last year the Green Valley Fire District began what is best described as a "mobile urgent care" and next month they will be sharing it in Washington D.C.

The fire district has four nurse practitioners on staff to help respond to medical calls that do not require a trip to the emergency room. They can treat patients in home whether that be giving someone stitches or prescribing antibiotics.

"In essence we are a mobile urgent care," said Battalion Chief Dan Modrzejewski.

He is one of two chiefs with GVFD that will travel to Washington D.C. at the end of March to present their program to the American Society of Aging. They will show how their program works, why they started it, and its success with a group that includes the Centers for Disease Control, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid, among others.

Modrzejewski says he hopes other agencies around the country will adopt their program. Similar programs are already in a handful of jurisdictions.

The Green Valley program, less than a year old, has been a success according to Modrzejewski. He says before they began, a quarter of their 911 calls could have been handled by a nurse.

"They don't necessarily need to go to the emergency room," he said.

Last year, their nurses responded to 170 calls and were able to treat all of them in home instead of transporting them to the emergency room. Modrzejewski says an emergency room transport could cost between $3,000 and $4,000 while their program is much cheaper on the patient.

"The most we charge insurance is going to be $300 or $400," he said.

He says when they began they had one nurse, but now they have four on staff. Additionally, the program has decreased the number of 911 calls they receive because people are calling their appointment line for the nurse. That number is 520-428-0550.