Baptist Ambulance introduces 911 telehealth, on-scene treatment for TennCare patients

Baptist Ambulance
Baptist Ambulance(source: Baptist Ambulance)
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 3:52 PM CST
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CORDOVA, Tenn. (WMC) - Baptist Ambulance announced Monday that it has begun providing telehealth visits to TennCare patients who call 911 with low-acuity injuries or illnesses in Tipton, Obion and Carroll counties under a new TennCare program that allows first responders to treat non-urgent patients on-scene.

The pilot program is in conjunction with Baptist Ambulance’s parent company, Priority OnDemand, and utilizes its OnDemand Visit telehealth platform to deliver immediate, 24/7 access to 911 first responders for low-acuity telemedicine visits for TennCare patients.

The program is the result of a new TennCare program that took effect Jan. 1, 2023, that allows on-scene treatment and telemedicine during 911 responses for TennCare patients with non-life-threatening needs. The TennCare program is called “Triage, Navigate, Treat, Transport,” known as TN-T2.

“Envision 911 ambulances that arrive with doctors and nurse practitioners available via telehealth,” Bryan Gibson, Chief Executive Officer. “With the support of the state, it’s now possible for us to shift the paradigm of emergency services delivery for our TennCare population. Through a combination of our highly trained first responders and our proprietary OnDemand Visit telehealth technology in all ambulances, we are instantly able to deliver the most appropriate level of care to people who traditionally have had low access to urgent care or even primary care services.”

The program will allow TennCare to reimburse qualified first responders, such as 911 ambulance service agencies and fire departments, to treat non-life-threatening calls outside of the emergency room.

“The new structure will help many patients receive the care they need where they need it, when they need it and avoid emergency room visits when the patient’s condition doesn’t medically require that level of care,” Gibson added. “Added value comes from reducing unnecessary visits to already crowded emergency rooms.”

Tammy Mihm, managed care compliance director for TennCare, is overseeing the development and implementation of the TN-T2 program for TennCare. Once implemented statewide, the new program is estimated to save more than $8 million annually in TennCare expenses.

“Access to all levels of care is crucial for our members, and the TN-T2 program is designed to add another avenue of access,” Mihm said. “As first responders statewide adopt the program, we expect to see a reduction in the number of TennCare patients being unnecessarily transported to emergency rooms for low-acuity injuries and illnesses. Such patients could instead be treated on the scene or at an alternate site like an urgent care clinic. Over time, we anticipate better patient outcomes, cost savings statewide and, as a result of the improved flow of patient transportation, the overall emergency healthcare system should benefit as well.”

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