Seattle Fire Department partners with American Medical Response to implement innovative new emergency healthcare solution

The Seattle Fire Department Nurse Navigation Program will provide Seattle residents access to customized care options to meet their specific medical needs 

SEATTLE – Today, the Seattle Fire Department announced that it has partnered with American Medical Response (AMR) to bring a new and innovative healthcare solution to help area residents and visitors quickly reach the most appropriate level of care when calling 911. The Seattle Fire Nurse Navigation Program, which launched February 8, 2022, provides access to a wider range of options to meet the callers’ specific medical care needs, which may include a referral to an alternative destination or virtual visit with a physician.  

Fire Chief Harold Scoggins speaks at press conference

The program, designed with advanced innovative protocols, works by routing some area 911 calls with non-emergent injuries or illnesses to a Washington State Licensed nurse for assessment. The nurse will assess a caller’s symptoms and refer them to the most appropriate medical care that could include a virtual visit with a board-certified emergency physician, self-care, or transport to a local healthcare provider, including clinics, urgent care centers, or if needed, a hospital Emergency Department. 

“Improving public safety in Seattle requires improving the systems our City uses to provide public safety support,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “The Nurse Navigation Program is a strong example for how we can make our systems more efficient and ensure better care at the same time. I look forward to collaborating with the Seattle Fire Department, Public Safety Chair Herbold, and other key government and community stakeholders as we continue to work to innovate 911 service and best connect Seattle residents to the resources and support they need.” 

Councilmember Lisa Herbold said that the implementation of the program was accelerated by the City and Mayor Harrell and that the new service will enhance the overall health of the city.  

“Consulting nurses are an incredible resource, picking up the phone at all hours of the day to provide needed advice,” said Councilmember Herbold Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee (District 1 – West Seattle/South Park). “Just as we rely upon consulting nurses in our personal lives, it’s time the City of Seattle leverages their expertise as we triage dispatch of our first responders. In our last budget, the Council created a nurse navigation program to assist with dispatching. That’s why I’m thrilled that Mayor Harrell is acting so expeditiously to make this service a reality. Thank you, Mayor Harrell, for your swift action. This new service will preserve first responder resources aiding the safety and health of our city.” 

Firefighter-dispatcher Hilton Almond gives demonstration on new Nurse Line program

Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins said that the program enhances service to the communities of Seattle and routes some 911 callers to alternative care destinations such as area health clinics or even virtual appointments. 

“Through this new and innovative partnership with AMR and GMR, Seattle Fire dispatchers will now have capability to transfer approximately 8 to 10,000 calls annually to the Nurse Line,” said Chief Scoggins. “This program allows us to better serve our residents by more appropriately triaging the needs of some of our 911 utilizers. In many cases, this will help to divert 911 callers with non-emergency issues away from an ambulance transport to a hospital’s emergency department, and connect patients instead towards self-treatment, Urgent Care or a Telehealth appointment.” 

With the launch of the program in Seattle, Washington now joins five other states and the District of Columbia in integrating the Nurse Navigation Program into 911 systems to alleviate strain on EMS and healthcare systems while ensuring high and low acuity calls reach the most appropriate level care. 

“AMR has been a proud partner of the Seattle Fire Department for many years now,” said Randy Strozyk Senior Vice President for AMR parent company, Global Medical Response. “We are excited to enhance our partnership and bring an even greater level of service and care to Seattle residents through the launch of the Seattle Fire Nurse Navigation Program. Together, we will help ensure that lower acuity 911 calls receive expedited pathways to treatment while contributing to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of EMS service delivery in our community.”  

With 911 contracts nationwide, AMR has the employee base, resources, and experience to provide necessary and immediate assistance to alleviate pressure on the EMS system and enhance the ability to care for the community. These integrated solutions are effective in improving outcomes and unit availability, as well as educating communities on the appropriate use of 911. The result – a more functional system that enables local fire agencies and EMS to focus on providing timely, appropriate, and high-quality patient care while controlling costs and improving outcomes.