Norman sits underneath a pile of over a dozen blister- packed pill cards. His diabetes requires him to take more than 20 pills per day, and keeping the regimen straight seems daunting; the pills, separately packed per month help make it easier. He has been dealing with diabetes for 2-3 years, and he now lives in a residential home that has round- the-clock direct support professionals (DSP).
In July, Norman passed out due to his blood sugar dropping to a dangerous level, and the on-duty DSP called 911. When the paramedics arrived, Norman had recovered, and assessment was carried out. The paramedic suggested utilizing the Spokane Ride to Care (SRTC) program, so Norman could receive a ride from a SNAP-contracted vendor to a participating urgent care facility, rather than utilizing an ambulance to an Emergency Department. SRTC allows the patient to receive treatment while freeing up the emergency services for others more severely impaired, while also saving the patient and insurance provider the cost of an ambulance and emergency room visit.
SRTC recently commissioned an evaluation report published by the Spokane Regional Health District that identified that diverting individuals from higher-cost services (ambulance and Emergency Departments) to more appropriate lower-cost services (non- emergency medical transportation and urgent care), reduced the cost of transportation and medical services to individuals like Norman by 61% per individual.
Norman was grateful for this alternative, felt comfortable using the provided transportation, and would probably utilize this service again. Hopefully his health will stay stable and no one will have to call 911 for him again, but if so, this option is there for him. In the meantime, he can get back to watching sports and playing pool, two of his favorite activities.