AMR Marks Third Year of DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program


The program in Georgia has provided residents access to a wider variety of care options, successfully reducing non-critical burdens on local emergency rooms.
Now entering its third year of implementation, the DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program – a partnership between DeKalb County and American Medical Response (AMR) – has helped residents across the county access alternative care options and avoid a visit to local emergency rooms, which can come with long wait times. In the three years since, 911 nurses have guided over 5,000 medical calls in DeKalb County toward non-emergency health services. The Nurse Navigation program, a trailblazing initiative in Georgia, is an innovative way to help residents quickly reach the most appropriate level of care.

The Nurse Navigation Program is designed to provide citizens access to a wider variety of care options to meet their specific medical needs. The program has shown proven results and has improved the system as a whole by reducing pressure across the board. DeKalb County E-911 receives approximately one million calls annually, which includes 105,000 emergency medical service calls. DeKalb’s 911 callers cared for by GMR’s 911 Nurse Navigators rated their experience 4.7 out of 5 stars, with over 80 percent of callers not needing to call back to 911 after speaking with them. Some were taken to clinics, while others received over-the-phone consultations or spoke with a physician via telehealth. The Nurse Navigation Program drastically reduced the load of an already strained EMS industry in one of the nations’ fastest-growing regions.

“We are pleased with the AMR partnership and the performance of the DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program that offers direct communication with a nurse. Callers also realize time and cost savings versus the traditional ambulance transport and hospital visits,” said DeKalb County Fire Chief Darnell Fullum. “DeKalb County remains a leader in finding solutions to address the challenges facing EMS systems nationwide.”

Through the DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program, 911 calls with non-emergency injuries or illnesses are transferred to a Georgia-licensed nurse. The nurse assesses a patient's symptoms and refers them to the most appropriate medical care. That may include referral to a local clinic or urgent care center. With innovative technology, the nurse presents the caller with a list of available healthcare providers in their community that can deliver the appropriate services based on the caller’s clinical needs. The nurse is able to facilitate and schedule an appointment directly with the provider to streamline the patient experience. In addition, the nurse can also order transportation for the caller on an as-needed basis through participation with their insurance plan.

“We are so proud to celebrate the third anniversary of the DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program and all the success that it has brought. None of this would be possible without our partnership with DeKalb County, the leadership of DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and Fire Chief Darnell Fullum, along with our amazing crews who adopted a new system and have kept it running so seamlessly,” said Chris Valentin, regional director for AMR. “The program has worked so well in DeKalb County that we are now considering expanding the program into other markets in Georgia including the community of Decatur.”

The program has also created a more cohesive relationship between DeKalb County’s first responder community. In addition to the DeKalb County Fire Department, the Decatur Fire Department has recently joined as well. The program allows DeKalb County’s EMS workers to make more efficient use of limited resources, which is crucial in a time where the industry continues to battle with a nationwide EMS staffing shortage.
AMR Marks Third Year of DeKalb County 911 Nurse Navigation Program