June 5, 2023

Oneida County Launches Innovative Nurse Navigation Program to Increase Efficiency of 911 Dispatch System

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County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. today announced that Oneida County’s new Nurse Navigation Program to increase the efficiency of its 911 dispatch system by diverting non-emergency calls to licensed nurses, will go live on June 6th.

“This innovative new program will provide residents with a variety of options for quickly reaching the appropriate level of medical care when calling 911,” Picente said. “This will filter out non-emergency calls from our 911 system and allow our dispatchers to more efficiently cater to the needs of those in dire situations. In turn, it will also help to free up the emergency rooms of our local healthcare systems and ambulance corps from being overburdened with patients who do not require the level of care they provide.” 

The Oneida County Nurse Navigation Program, a partnership with American Medical Response, will provide individuals with the right level of care, which may or may not include transportation to a hospital emergency department. 911 calls with non-emergency injuries or illnesses may be transferred to a Nurse Navigator who can assess their symptoms and refer them to the most appropriate medical care. This care could include referral to a local clinic or urgent care. Nurse Navigators —who are New York State licensed nurses— can also connect callers directly to telehealth physicians who can provide care and prescribe medication if necessary. The service does not require the caller to have medical insurance to access this service.  

Oneida County residents will see no change when calling 911 for life-threatening emergencies. An ambulance will still be dispatched when calls are received for urgent, life-threatening or potentially life-threatening emergencies.

“American Medical Response is pleased to partner with Oneida County to connect a Nurse Navigation program to 911 services, allowing for additional resources and alternate sites of care for those calling 911 with non-life-threatening complaints,” said Lisa Edmondson, Director of Nurse Navigation for AMR parent company, Global Medical Response. “It has been a true pleasure working with community partners in Oneida County to assist in redesigning systems to access healthcare to get the caller to the right care at the right time.”

While 911 should only be used for urgent, life-threatening or potentially life-threatening emergencies, 3,775 of Oneida County’s 24,169 medical-related 911 calls in 2022 were considered non-emergent. Community members should continue to call their primary care provider for non-emergency medical advice, appointments and prescription refills. 

“This project is the culmination of the continuous planning process conducted by Emergency Services in an attempt to increase the efficiency of the services we provide to the community,” said Edward Stevens, Oneida county Director of Emergency Services. “The planning process for this project intensified partially as a result of what was observed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the ongoing efforts to address the needs of EMS services in the county.  Hospital space as well as ambulance availability was strained and pushed to the limits resulting in diversions and long waits by EMS personnel. This program will help divert individuals seeking assistance to the most appropriate service while allowing the EMS and hospital personnel to remain available to tend to the most serious issues. I would like to thank the staff here at the Emergency Services Department as well as those from American Medical Response and the County Executive for all of their work to bring this program to Oneida County.”

For additional information on Oneida County’s Nurse Navigation Program, please visit https://ocgov.net/departments/emergency-services/nurse-navigation-program/.

Oneida County Partners