Ga. county program allows some 911 callers to speak with a nurse, consider ER alternatives

American Medical Response partnered with DeKalb County to roll out the 911 Nurse Navigation Program this month


By Laura French

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A new program in a Georgia county will allow some 911 callers to be transferred to a nurse to discuss their health needs and care options. 

The DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program, a partnership between American Medical Response and DeKalb County, aims to better manage EMS call volume by guiding callers to the resources and facilities that would be better options for them than being transported to the emergency department, according to an AMR news release

American Medical Response's Nurse Navigation command center. AMR has partnered with DeKalb County to transfer some 911 callers to a nurse to discuss their symptoms and consider alternatives to emergency department transport. (Photo/AMR)
American Medical Response's Nurse Navigation command center. AMR has partnered with DeKalb County to transfer some 911 callers to a nurse to discuss their symptoms and consider alternatives to emergency department transport. (Photo/AMR)

Low-acuity patients will discuss their symptoms with a registered nurse, who will assess them over the phone and refer them to the most appropriate medical care facility near them, such as a local clinic or urgent care center. The nurse can also help patients to schedule an appointment with the appropriate provider. The DeKalb County program is the first of its kind in Georgia, according to AMR. 

"We are proud of our long-term partnership with DeKalb County, and we are excited to leverage our national expertise and integrated healthcare solutions to expand access to care, improve patient experience and increase population health throughout the region," said AMR Regional Director Chris Valentin, of the Southeast Region – Georgia division. "The DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program will allow us to better serve the residents of DeKalb County by ensuring that lower acuity calls receive the attention they need and that those callers are presented with more innovated paths to treatment that are often close to home, where medical treatment can be received faster than a visit to a hospital emergency department." 

In addition to better serving lower acuity patients, programs like the Nurse Navigator Program also make more EMS units available to respond to life-threatening emergencies and educate communities about the appropriate use of 911, according to AMR. 

This graphic shows the process for 911 calls under the DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program. (Photo/AMR)
This graphic shows the process for 911 calls under the DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program. (Photo/AMR)

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