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Billions wasted on 911 emergency system abuses


Billions of dollars may be wasted each year because of chronic abuse of the United States’ 911 emergency system, CNNMoney.com reported.

Many individuals are calling in with problems ranging from headaches to toothaches and feelings of loneliness several times a day, making the 911 system a stopgap source of primary care for many. The abuses are largely paid for by the general public through higher taxes and medical fees.

The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch said 20 percent of the calls received are classified as non-life threatening and don’t require a paramedic.

Industry experts call it the 911 “safety net” system, because people ranging from immigrants who don’t know how to use the healthcare system, to uninsured citizens, to people seeking faster care readily rely on the duty of emergency services to respond to a request.

More than 80 percent of 911 calls, according to a lieutenant and paramedic at a South Florida fire department, are routine health calls better handled by a physician or nurse, but the ethical duties of a paramedic require response without judgment.

Those treated by 911 responders don’t pay for services on the scene and decline transportation to a hospital, because that is when charges kick in. Some emergency room patients even leave the emergency room out of frustration of waiting to be seen by a doctor, and call 911 in hopes of getting immediate treatment.

Read the full CNNMoney.com story

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