Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and U.S. Representatives Carol Miller (R-WV) and Alex Mooney (R-WV) called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to consider a “treat-in-place” model to address the workforce challenges faced by West Virginia hospitals and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers.
“This would be a major step forward in advancing an improved model that better utilizes limited EMS and hospital staff while ensuring quality patient care and saving approximately $3 million in unnecessary emergency room visits. Furthermore, this model could be replicated nationwide, especially in rural communities with limited health resources,” the lawmakers wrote in part.
The West Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) and the West Virginia Hospital Association (WVHA), along with a small coalition of emergency medicine physicians, EMS providers, and payers sent a proposal to CMS urging them to support a new “treat-in-place” model to reduce unnecessary emergency room trips by establishing medical triage lines for low-acuity 911 calls.
“The availability and effective functioning of the emergency medical services system and hospital emergency departments are of vital importance to all West Virginians,” said Jim Kaufman, President and CEO of the West Virginia Hospital Association. “This demonstration will provide the flexibility necessary for our first responders to care for West Virginians in the appropriate setting and it aligns with the goals of better utilizing EMS and hospital staff while ensuring quality patient care and reducing unnecessary emergency room visits. Emergency medical services systems, hospitals, and their emergency departments, are fundamental components of West Virginia’s health care delivery network. Together they provide the state’s safety net and CMS’s approval of this project will go a long way to ensure access to care, especially in our most rural communities.”