SECTION 1. Chapter 111C of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting at the end thereof the following new section:-
Section 26. The department shall design and implement a temporary pilot program that establishes a nurse triage program within the commonwealth’s system of public safety answering points, or PSAPs, as defined in section 18A of chapter 6A, to test the value of such a program in diverting non-emergency 911 calls to medical care that does not require an ambulance or hospital with an emergency department. The pilot program shall train and hire nurses to field 911 calls and determine, based on a series of questions to be developed by the department, and in conjunction with licensed health care professionals, if the call is a medical emergency. Nurses shall assist 911 callers with non-emergency conditions in scheduling appointments with a primary care provider or coordinating a trip to other health facilities, including, but not limited to, urgent care centers. The pilot program shall consider coordinating with outside transportation organizations to facilitate transfers of 911 callers to other health facilities. The pilot program shall commence not later than January 1, 2020.
The department shall issue a report on the results of the pilot program, including, but not limited to: (i) the scope of the pilot program; (ii) implementation challenges and lessons learned; (iii) data on emergency department diversions and ambulance utilization; (iv) an analysis of the pilot program compared to other options in reducing excessive emergency department utilization; and (v) any recommendations for permanent implementation of such program. Not later than 60 days after the conclusion of the program, the report shall be filed with the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means, the chairs of the joint committee on public health, the chairs of the joint committee on health care financing, and the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate.
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