Human beings have probably been talking about their health since language was invented. Today, the reality of 21st Century healthcare compels us to deal with everything from the cost of an ambulance ride to the fallout of over-prescribed painkillers.
Let’s start with the latter. Locally, in Louisiana there are reportedly more prescriptions for opioids than there are citizens of the state.
One of the cures for this problem is to have doctors stop writing so many prescriptions. That’s all well and good as a long-term plan for the future, but for New Orleanians addicted to drugs today, who want to cure their addiction now, getting into a rehab program has often meant leaving New Orleans and Louisiana.
Chris McMahon is President and CEO of a company that is addressing this issue. Longbranch Healthcare runs Longbranch Recovery with an outpatient clinic in Old Metairie, and an inpatient residential facility, in Abita Springs.
If you’ve ever had a medical emergency and called an ambulance, you will have discovered that if your insurance doesn’t cover it, your transportation to hospital costs you somewhere around a thousand dollars.
And the only place the ambulance will take you is a hospital emergency room. This might, on the face of it, sound sensible, but the reality of 21st Century healthcare is that hospital emergency rooms are generally swamped, over-run with patients. The reason for this is that a percentage of patients waiting for care are in the wrong place: because their condition is not actually a medical emergency.
A local New Orleans company is setting out to solve both the ambulance and the emergency room issues.
Ready Responders has a network of alternative EMT workers who arrive at the scene of an emergency on foot, by bicycle, or in their own car. Rather than automatically take the patient to the ER, the responder makes a case-based decision about what should happen to the patient. That might be patching them up and sending them on their way, or putting them in touch with the right medical professional in the community, other than the ER.
Justin Dangel is CEO and co-founder of Ready Responders. In a sales pitch kind of way, the concept is kind of “the Uber of EMS” but it’s actually based on a working model that predates Uber and has some real-world testing that Justin witnessed first-hand on the ground in Israel.
Check out another investigation into 21st Century healthcare in Louisiana, here.