Hospitals say too many people are calling 911 for non-emergencies

DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — Reaching for the phone and dialing 911 is the natural thing to do when an emergency happens, but hospitals and first responders said backed-up ambulance lines and packed emergency rooms are becoming common. 

It’s a problem the healthcare system can’t afford to have, which is why officials want people to dial 911 during actual emergencies. 

“We’re seeing a significant increase in those non-emergency calls,” Brian Jensen said. 
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Jensen is the regional vice president of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.

Last month, UC Davis said they saw year over increase of 300% of patients coming by ambulance to their emergency room with the lowest level of assessment, meaning it might be someone with a rash or a prescription refill.

Now, first responders are partnering with hospitals to launch a campaign geared toward educating the public about when is the right time. They said the spike in calls only leaves those in urgent need of care waiting longer.

“We’ve got ambulances that are sitting on the walls of hospitals for upward of 13 hours and we’re looking for those solutions,” Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Cpt. Parker Wilbourn said.

First responders and hospitals tied to the campaign want people to go to rightcarerightplace.info to learn more about what merits a 911 call. They’ll also be performing outreach efforts to get the word out.

“Longer delays for people who do have emergencies, so really want every individual to get the right fit for their problem — their health needs,” Jensen said. 

This story appeared on Fox 40 News

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