Beverly Hills firefighters add nurse to paramedic teams

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- The Beverly Hills firefighter paramedics will have another person riding on board when they respond to 911 calls.

The city is adding a nurse practitioner to ambulance units.

The Nurse Practitioner 1 (NP1) unit will be an effort to ease the crowds in emergency rooms.

"She has the ability to treat those patients that we can't do as paramedics," says firefighter paramedic Scott Marquez.

After responding to a 911 call, paramedics will evaluate a patient at the scene and if they determine the person does not need to go to the emergency room they will then call in the nurse practitioner.

The NP1 unit has a lot of the medical necessities that you would find at an urgent care so they can treat the patient right there on the scene.

Marquez says the point of the one-year program is to keep patients out of the emergency rooms, and cut down on overcrowding.

The city of Beverly Hills is footing the bill for the program and is hoping to see big results.

"If you take a look at any of the local hospitals you'll know their emergency rooms are filled with truly non-critical patients, but nonetheless people who need care," says Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold.

Nurse practitioner Teri Simmons says she's seen firsthand overcrowded emergency rooms.

She says flu season "means there's going to be a lot of patients waiting for hours in the emergency room to get care. This way when we are called out to the home we'll be able to do a lot of the similar testing and assessments they would receive there."

Beverly Hills officials say while other cities have similar programs, their city is going a step further providing non-critical patients with follow-up visits by the nurse practitioner in hopes of cutting down on 911 repeat calls.
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