Frequent flyer programs merit consideration

They may not have a medical emergency, but those repeat customers still need help

Editor’s Note:

Editor's note: Chief Adam K. Thiel looks at how one department used alternative funding sources and service-delivery models to address repeat EMS customers.

This is a great story that demonstrates how fire departments can be resourceful, in these difficult economic times, by seeking alternative funding sources and reimagining certain aspects of service delivery.

The "frequent flyer" issue is salient not just for fire and EMS departments nationwide, but also for our public health and hospital partners. It's important to remember, as mentioned in the article, that these people still need help — just maybe not an ambulance, rescue, or medic unit transport to the nearest emergency room.

As our overall national healthcare system continues changing, through legislation and ever-increasing service demand, it's definitely a good time to think about how we deliver the right level of emergency medical care to all those who need it.

At the same time, we need to carefully consider the economic and political implications of different models for our individual communities and operating environments.

One thing's for sure: given the opportunity, fire departments can help identify, and implement, creative solutions to address community healthcare challenges.

Stay safe!

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.

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