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DC's Right Care, Right Now Program Could Help Serious Car Crash Victims

By: Dan Hausman

Mayor Muriel Bowser started the Right Care, Right Now initiative in Washington, D.C. about 15 months ago. The program connects 911 callers with issues that are not life threatening to a nurse through a triage phone call rather than directly to first responders.

Upon consultation with the nurse, 911 callers who can be better treated in a primary care setting are connected to a convenient primary care provider to handle their medical issues, often on the very same day they call in. Medicaid and Medicare callers even get free transportation to their primary care providers. Major goals of the program are to save valuable emergency resources for those that need them the most and to reduce the cost of healthcare in the District of Columbia.

So, how is the initiative doing in its first year? On average, D.C. Fire and EMS gets more than 400 calls about medical issues every day, 100 of which are considered to be non-life-threatening. However, of the 100 non-life -threatening calls a day, only four patients are directed away from emergency care at a hospital by way of the Right Care, Right Now program. With reports of people using emergency rooms for tetanus shots from office stapler wounds or for skinned knees, it is clear there is a lot of work to be done.

I have a lot of clients who, although injured in a serious car crash, are persuaded to exchange information with the other driver and go on their way on their own rather than wait for a police officer and an ambulance. This phenomenon often occurs because of the fear of long wait times for first responders to arrive at the scene of the collision.

I think that the Right Care, Right Now initiative can really do a lot of good for people involved in serious crashes by freeing up first responders. It not only frees up first responders to treat car crash injuries, but it also allows police officers to make an accident report. Memorializing how a crash occurred and the damage it did are important first steps in protecting oneself and one’s rights should one eventually wish to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.

Unfortunately, there are many crashes that occur every day in Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent or irresponsible driver, CSCS is here to help. Contact us for a consultation with our attorneys today.