Special Report: Putting a stop to non-emergency calls to 911 - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Special Report: Officials plan to fix issue of non-emergency 911 calls

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

It's an issue many EMS systems across the country are facing: hundreds of calls to 911 for things that are not emergencies. In the City of Shreveport officials have a plan to keep these calls from slowing down response time and to keep tax payers from absorbing the costs.

"A lot of times, its changing an oxygen bottle, that's what their problem was. Or they can't get their meter to work," says Capt. Dustin Rogers.

Nearly half of all medical emergency calls in Shreveport are for things that could be handled without am EMS crew.  "We only have a few ambulances to transport," says Rogers.

In the City of Shreveport, the Fire Department gets 38,056 calls a year. Of those, 27,600 are for medical emergencies, and 16,200 did not require an EMS to transport to a hospital.

We rode along with an EMS crew for a day, and about half of the calls did not require transport.

"It's a big expense," says EMS Chief Nathan Tabor.

Tabor says the department is breaking even financially, but with unpaid transport fees and free visits when a person is not transported the question is for how long.

The department is not only being hit with non-emergencies but also frequent fliers. Chief Tabor says 10 percent of callers call more than 15 times a year.

The plan to fix this issue is mobile integrated health care, better known as a street team. "Going by - not on an emergency basis - but just going by and doing a little education to make sure everything is fine with these people, and do the best we can to help them so we aren't being called all the time," says Tabor.

The groundwork has already been laid for this street team, and Chief Tabor hopes some changes will be made before the end of the year.

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