fems

Fire and EMS Department
 

DC Agency Top Menu


-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Frequently Asked Questions Right Care, Right Now

right care right now

Text DC RIGHTCARE TO 468311 For more Information

 
 

Introducing Right Care, Right Now
Providing every caller to 911 with the most appropriate and responsible path to improved health outcomes.

Not every call to 911 necessitates transportation by an ambulance to a hospital's emergency department. Based on a caller's description of their symptoms, a caller may be transferred to a registered nurse in order to determine the most appropriate path for treatment.

The paths to improved health outcomes may include one of the following:

1) Referral to a local participating clinics and urgent care facilities

*Transportation to and from the clinic for eligible patients, including transportation for non-ambulatory patients.

2) Referral to self-care

*The nurse will provide information and medical advice for resolving symptoms described.

*The nurse may refer self-care patients to Ready Responders - A group of non-transporting EMS providers will visit the patient within three hours of the and will conduct for an in-home assessment and provide medical management, patient education, and will set-up 30, 60, and 90 day follow-up appointments. 

3) Referral to Telehealth visit

*A medical provider will provide information and medical assessment via telephone/video conference within one hour of the referral.

4) Referral back to the DC 911 system (BLS/ALS)

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions
All calls to 911 are answered as quickly as possible, but not all calls are the same. Our goal is to connect 911 callers with medical needs to the most appropriate health care. This may or may not include transport to a hospital emergency department.

The goals of the Right Care, Right Now program are to improve patients’ health outcomes and to preserve the DC Fire and EMS Department’s (FEMS) resources for those patients with life threatening injuries and illnesses. This should also free up beds in crowded hospital emergency departments, which will benefit all critically ill emergency patients. The District has one of the highest per capita EMS call volumes in the nation. Our high non-emergency call volume strains the Department’s resources for emergencies.

Under the Right Care, Right Now program, callers to 911 with non-emergency injuries or illnesses are transferred to a nurse, either by the 911 call center or by a FEMS first responder. The nurse asks the caller questions and assesses the patient's symptoms so that the nurse can refer the caller to the most appropriate non-emergency medical care available, most likely a community clinic or urgent care clinic in the caller’s neighborhood. Medicaid, DC Healthcare Alliance enrollees, and non-ambulatory patients are provided with free transportation to and from the clinic.

When should patients call 911?
A patient should only call 911 for a serious medical emergency (for themself or someone else) that they believe is life threatening or that may be or become life threatening, for example: trouble breathing, chest pain, heart attack, cardiac arrest, fainting, a severe allergic reaction, injuries from a fall or accident, seizures, severe pain, or other urgent matter. Patients should not call 911 for minor illnesses or injuries, for example: a cold or virus, a minor cut, or for a routine or chronic medical matter that can be addressed through an appointment with a primary care physician.

Will FEMS still respond and transport patients to a hospital if they call 911?
It depends. If the patient's condition is an urgent, life threatening, or potentially life threatening emergency, the 911 call-center (Office of Unified Communications) will dispatch FEMS first responders who will assess the patient's symptoms, transport them to the hospital directly, or determine whether American Medical Response (AMR), the Department’s third party provider, should transport them to the hospital.

If the patient's condition is not a medical emergency, they may be (1) transferred to the Right Care, Right Now Nurse Triage Line and the nurse will assess the patient's symptoms and determine the most appropriate medical care for their condition, OR (2) a FEMS first responder will assess the patient's symptoms and, if they are eligible based on FEMS protocols and guidelines, connect them by phone to the nurse, who will assess the patient's symptoms and determine the most appropriate medical care for their condition.

How will it be determined whether the patient will be transferred to the Right Care, Right Now Nurse Triage Line?
The 911 operator will ask the patient questions about their medical symptoms or the FEMS first responder and will assess the patient. Based on the 911 operator's questions or the FEMS first responders assessment, the patient may be transferred to the Nurse Triage Line for appropriate care. 

If the nurse at the Right Care, Right Now Nurse Triage Line determines that the patient's condition can best be treated at one of the identified medical clinics, will transportation to the clinic be provided? How long will it take to get the transportation?
All Medicaid beneficiaries, through their Medicaid fee-for-service or any of the three DC Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, as well as DC Healthcare Alliance enrollees, will receive transportation, if needed, including a return trip home from the clinic. 

For Non-Medicaid/Commercial patients, a one-way taxi ride to the clinic will be coordinated by the Nurse Triage Line through the DC Department of For-Hire Vehicles.

Non-ambulatory patients and patients who are wheel-chair bound (non-motorized) are eligible for transportation to a clinic and a return trip to their residence.  

Our goal will be for Medicaid beneficiaries to have transportation within 30 minutes of talking to the nurse. Sometimes this may take longer than 30 minutes, but the patient should have transportation to the clinic on the same day that they call the nurse.

How will a determination be made about which medical clinic patients will be referred to?
The nurse will connect the patient to the most appropriate level of care available, taking into account their existing primary care provider (if any), the location where they last received care, their location, the time of day, and the availability of health care providers.

Will the nurse schedule a clinic appointment for the patient at the medical clinic at a predetermined time? Will the staff know when the patient will arrive and why?
Each clinic has walk-in appointments that will be available for Right Care, Right Now Nurse Triage Line patients. The nurse will notify the clinic that the patient is on the way, provide their estimated time of arrival and the reason(s) they are seeking medical care. Upon arrival at the healthcare site, the patient will be seen as soon as possible.

Will the medical providers be able to prescribe medication during a patient's visit?
Yes, the selected medical providers will be able to prescribe medications.

If the patient is provided a ride home following their appointment at one of the medical clinics, will they be able to pick up these medications on their way home?
If a patient is a Medicaid beneficiary or DC Healthcare Alliance enrollee, once they complete their visit at one of the healthcare sites, transportation will be provided to take the patient back home.

Should the patient call 911 to schedule any follow-up or future appointments at the medical clinic in which they were seen?
No. The patient should schedule all non-life threatening medical appointments directly with the medical clinic in which they were seen – and where they are now a registered patient, or with any other non-emergency health care facilities that the clinic may refer them to.

What happens if the nurse at the Right Care, Right Now Triage Line determines that the patient's condition warrants transport to a hospital emergency department?
Nurses on the Right Care, Right Now Nurse Triage Line should only receive calls that would typically be best handled in a non-emergency health care environment as opposed to a hospital emergency room setting.

However, if the nurse on the Right Care Right Now Nurse Triage Line determines that the patient's condition is of an urgent or emergency nature that can best be treated at a hospital or that they should be assessed by FEMS first responders, we will dispatch a FEMS unit to the patient.

If FEMS first responders are already on the scene with the patient and the nurse determines that they should be treated at a hospital, the first responders will ensure that the patient is transported to the hospital by an FEMS or AMR ambulance.

What are the nurses’ qualifications?
The nurses will be licensed in the District and have experience in emergency nursing. They also will be familiar with the practice of triage.

If the patient talks to the nurse and still wants to be transported to the hospital by ambulance, what happens then?
The nurse will make the decision on the most appropriate level of care for the patient based on their symptoms. If their symptoms are not an emergency, the nurse will refer them to the most appropriate level of care.

If the patient disagrees with this process and the medical choices that are being made related to their care and condition, how can they file a complaint?
Patients may file a complaint by calling FEMS at 202-673-3320.

Participating Clinics
If a patient already has a doctor, they may contact them for their non-emergency medical needs. If a patient does not have a doctor or primary care physician, they should contact their insurance company for help in finding one.

The list of doctor offices below are the medical and urgent care facilities currently participating in the Right Care, Right Now initiative, meaning, that if patients call 911 for a non-emergency medical need, they may be referred to one of these clinics. They are all Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), accept all insurances including Medicaid / DC Healthcare Alliance, have extended evening and weekend hours and a patient portal. Each urgent care site accepts all Medicaid beneficiaries.

Map of Participating Clinics

Site Name Address Clinic Main Phone Numbers
Bread for the City

1525 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

202-386-7020

Community of Hope
Conway Health and Resource Center

4 Atlantic St SW
Washington, DC 20032
202-540-9857
Community of Hope
Family Health and Birth Center
801 17th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-540-9857

Community of Hope
Marie Reed Health Center

2155 Champlain St NW
Washington, DC 20009

202-540-9857
Family and Medical Counseling Services 2041 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE Suite 303
Washington, DC 20020
202-889-7901
La Clinica del Pueblo

2831 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

202-462-4788
Mary's Center 3912 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20011
1-844-796-2797
Unity Health Care 1500 Galen St SE
Washington, DC 20020
202-469-4699
Unity Health Care 1251-B Saratoga Ave NE
Washington, DC 20018
202-469-4699
Unity Health Care 1660 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-469-4699
Unity Health Care 4414 Benning Road NE
Washington, DC 20019
202-469-4699
Unity Health Care 3924 Minnesota Ave NE
Washington, DC 20019
202-469-4699
Unity Health Care 765 Kenilworth Terr NE
Washington, DC 20019
202-469-4699
Unity Health Care 3020 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-469-4699
Unity Health Care 555 L St SE
Washington, DC 20003
202-469-4699
Whitman Walker Health - 1525 1525 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-745-7000
Whitman Walker Health - Max Robinson Center

2301 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE
Washington, DC 20020

202-745-7000
GWU MFA Associates McPherson Square IPC
1101 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-798-0100
GWU MFA Associates Rhode Island Ave IPC
2350 Washington Pl NE
Suite 110N
Washington, DC 20018
202-544-7580
GWU MFA Associates

Cleveland Park IPC
2902 Porter St NW
Washington, DC 20008

202-525-5287
Providence Urgent Care Center

1150 Varnum Street NE
Washington, DC 20020

202-854-7001


Right Care, Right Now - In the News

 

 

TEXT: DC RIGHTCARE TO 468311 FOR MORE INFORMATION