New local nurse program aims for faster 911 response time, alleviate EMS strain

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Malik Evans and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello launched “Nurse Navigation” Monday, a city-county program meant to provide more efficient care for residents who call 911.

Officials say the program intends to increase the number of personnel responding to life-threatening injuries while decreasing overcrowding in medical emergency rooms.

Under the new project, calls made to 911 for non life-threatening conditions will be dealt by a licensed nurse who can assess symptoms, give instructions on self-care or call for a virtual visit with an emergency physician.

County officials hope that a more efficient 911 system will make more ambulances, EMTs and paramedic staff available to respond to life-threatening emergencies throughout the city and county.

“Nurse Navigation is proven to work in other cities and one of our primary roles is to provide our citizens with high-quality municipal government services,” Mayor Evans said. “This project is an excellent example of a public-private collaboration that will improve quality of life.”

This program was made with the goal of modernizing Rochester’s emergency response capabilities and help to assist residents of the community faster.

Local EMT services have been stretched beyond their ability to provide timely care due to the recent surge of COVID-19. Most recently, federal support was sent to Monroe County to assist the increased call volume.

“If you know it’s fairly low acuity and you may not need to go to the hospital, call your doctor’s office if you can,” said Monroe Ambulance Chief Operating Officer John Caufield. “If you have access to an Urgent Care, I would certainly ask people to consider using those. To save hospital and ambulance resources for folks most in need.” 

Nurse Navigation was created with the assistance of the American Medical Response (AMR). The program is expected to provide service to patients in the area starting today.

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