(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser launched the Right Care, Right Now initiative, which connects 911 callers with less serious and non-life-threatening injuries and conditions to primary care providers near their homes, helping preserve resources for serious emergencies. With the addition of a nurse triage line to the Office of Unified Communications, some 911 callers who may be better served and treated in a primary care setting, will be transferred to a nurse. If a nurse agrees that a caller may be best served in a primary care setting, the nurse will identify a doctor’s office in the caller’s neighborhood where the patient will be able to receive medical care the very same day.
“With Right Care, Right Now, we will be able to connect more Washingtonians with the right types of care and resources when they call for help,” said Mayor Bowser. “By freeing up our emergency services for those who really need them while also making better use of medical clinics and facilities throughout all eight wards, we’re building a response system that works better for everyone.”
Medicaid and DC HealthCare Alliance beneficiaries will receive free transportation to the identified clinic within one hour of making a call to 911, as well as free transportation home after they have been seen by their neighborhood doctor. Right Care, Right Now will operate every day of the year from 7 am to 11 pm.
In many cases, hospital emergency departments are not the best places to receive comprehensive medical care because they are only treating the ailments or condition in which the patient called 911 for before being picked up and transported by an ambulance. The care inside a hospital emergency department can be fragmented and may not address any underlying medical conditions associated with the patient.
“We respond to an average of about 500 calls each and every day,” said DC Fire and EMS Chief Gregory M. Dean, “and we realize that a hospital emergency room is not always the most appropriate medical setting to provide the most responsible care to the patients who we are transporting in the back of one of our ambulances. Right Care, Right Now will put many of these same patients on a path to improved health outcomes by connecting them to a doctor near their homes.”
There are currently 23 clinics participating in Right Care, Right Now. They are all Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), accept all insurances including Medicaid / DC Healthcare Alliance, and have extended evening and weekend hours and a patient portal. Each urgent care site accepts all Medicaid beneficiaries.
Other cities and municipalities across the country operate and staff nurse triage lines, but the District’s Right Care, Right Now initiative is unique in that it is directly connected to 911 as opposed to an alternative phone number. This allows 911 operators and nurses to make the best determination as to the most appropriate path of care without the patient having to guess if they are experiencing a medical emergency or not.
For more information, text: DC RIGHTCARE to 468311 or visit fems.dc.gov/page/frequently-asked-questions-right-care-right-now.