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DC’s New Right Care Program Provides Options for Non-Serious Patients

By: Dan Hausman

There are many reasons you may need the services of an ambulance in the District of Columbia. A few of those reasons may even be related to a potential personal injury claim. This blog post is about DC’s Right Care Right Now program, a relatively new initiative in D.C. that seeks to improve patient outcomes across the district by preserving DC Fire and EMS Department resources while still serving residents and visitors with life threatening injuries and illnesses.

The way that DC Right Care works is to add an intermediate option for people who may need an ambulance. Traditionally, a 911 operator classifies an incoming call as either:

  1. An Emergency, which requires an ambulance and a trip to the hospital, or
  2. A non-life threatening situation, in which the injured or sick person can either wait for a first responder to come to them or travel to a health clinic.

Often, this two-option system led operators to err on the side of caution and call in ambulances when it wasn’t necessary. DC Right Care presents a third option in which the 911 operator connects the incoming caller to a nurse when they are unsure of whether the situation is an emergency or a non-life threatening situation. The nurse asks the incoming caller questions about their symptoms and their prior history. The nurse then can direct appropriate action, saving resources for D.C. and also potentially saving the injured or ill person of the costs of an ambulance (however, ambulance costs are generally compensable in personal injury claims).

It is important to note the changes in DC Fire and EMS Department procedures because they may affect your personal injury claim since 911 will be less likely to get you to an emergency room. It is still of utmost importance to get immediate medical care, which can be at an urgent care center, when you have been injured at no fault of your own. Your initial medical evaluation documents the severity of your injury and the immediacy in which you needed a medical professional to evaluate your injury and treat it. Just because a nurse doesn’t send an ambulance to you directly doesn’t mean you should forego treatment.

Don’t worry, you may have a case even if you delayed in seeing a medical professional. If you are a personal injury victim in the District of Columbia, Virginia, or Maryland, the attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. are more than happy to offer a free consultation to discuss your potential case. You can contact us online or call (202) 644-8303 at your convenience.

Find more information about the Right Care, Right Now Program.