Establishing a Nurse Practitioner Pilot Program for LAFD
Posted by Councilmember Englander on October 23, 2015 at 12:00 PM
The City of Los Angeles is at a crossroads. Year after year, the volume of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls handled by the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) increases. In 2013 alone, the LAFD responded to 339,379 EMS calls. At the same time, the number of emergency room beds in Los Angeles has failed to keep pace with the increased demand. This situation has resulted in long delays both for patients awaiting beds and for LAFD personnel who are required to accompany a patient until a bed is available.
Non-urgent, low level 911 call requests can be screened by LAFD Firefighter EMTs and rerouted to nurse practitioners within the LAFD organization. In their scope of practice, nurse practitioners can perform comprehensive on-site assessments and perform, treat and release, or treat and transfer. By implementing a nurse practitioner program into LAFD's EMS protocols, it should be possible to reduce unnecessary and expensive emergency transport. A similar program in Mesa, Arizona, the Physician Extender Program, has shown that employing nurse practitioners provides quality care and saves millions.
Without reconsidering LAFD's current EMS response protocols, the imbalance in the system will continue to grow resulting in both higher costs for taxpayers and longer delays for patients. The City of Los Angeles and the region needs to develop a more efficient, coordinated, and integrated approach to delivering health care.
On Wednesday, the City Council unanimously voted to take the next step in developing a Nurse Practitioner Pilot program for Los Angeles by establishing the salaried position of EMS Nurse Practitioner Supervisor. Funds for this position were allocated from the Mayor’s Innovation Fund. The EMS Nurse Practitioner Supervisor will oversee the new Nurse Practitioner Response Unit (NPRU) pilot program in the LAFD, which will be used as an alternative Emergency Medical Services response model for Los Angeles. I want to thank Councilmember Paul Krekorian, the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City and the Fire Department, for their partnership in making this program a reality.
Click here to view the motion.
-Mitchell Englander, Chair of the Public Safety Committee
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