Mesa Fire and Medical launches new, improved dispatch system

MESA - ‘Tis the season for getting sick! And with more snowbirds flocking to the Valley, Mesa Fire and Medical are taking action.

Emergency rooms are usually flooded with people who have the flu this time of year. Now, Mesa emergency officials are using a new, innovative response system to treat people at their homes.

Mesa dispatchers will help you determine whether you really need to go to an emergency room. 

The medical director for Mesa Fire and Medical, Gary Smith, said the program gives callers access to mid-level or advanced level providers.

“A registered nurse is able to provide additional medical advice,” Smith said.

Veda Rohr is one of the nurses working in the new triage unit. She said if she can’t help a caller over the phone, she’ll dispatch a Community Care Unit.

“[A Community Care Unit] is staffed with a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant and a paramedic captain who can go ahead and provide them with some additional assessment,” Rohr said. 

The nurse triage unit was brought on four months ago. It’s seeing its first flu season and its first round of winter visitors.

The service is completely free. Mesa Fire and Medical received a $12.5 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help fund the program.

“We’re going to see an increased access to healthcare,” Smith said. “We’re going to see an improved type of healthcare delivery at a reduced cost.”

The program will be in place for at least the next two years. 

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