FL plan would route patients to specialist-equipped EDs

A Florida plan which would route acutely-ill patients to hospitals where an appropriate specialist is available on call is facing substantial challenges from physicians. Hoping to address the shortage of available specialists, state health planners have proposed a system under which acutely-ill patients would be routed to the closest hospital where a specialist was available on call, rather than sending them to the closest facility available. The patients would be routed by use of a centralized call center or Web-based schedule. The plan would also provide money to provide additional stipends, which could be used to attract on-call specialists to more facilities.

In theory, this makes sense, but in practice, Florida specialists who do take call say that that this plan could severely overload their schedules. Also, planners note that it's not clear how the EMS transport system would change under such a model, and whether EMS could sustain the change.

To find out more about the proposal:
- read this South Florida Sun Sentinel article

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