SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) – The City of Springfield is competing on a national stage with an idea to revolutionize health care through a mobile nurse system that could save the community millions in wasted medical costs and could get off the ground with a prize of millions.
Springfield's idea for a mobile primary health care clinic is now in the top twenty finalists list in a national contest called the Mayors Challenge.
The contest is backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's charity Bloomberg Philanthropies. It's designed to get cities to come up with ideas that could have national impact.
Springfield's mobile primary health care clinic is designed for people who need help treating minor injuries or illnesses without going to the emergency room in an ambulance.
Users would call 911, then give their symptoms. If necessary, the 911 dispatcher would then transfer the call to a primary care dispatch center.
After speaking to the dispatch center to verify patient information, the primary care team would dispatch a nurse in a medical van to travel to the patient. At the home, the nurse would use telemedicine technology,an internet video and audio connection, to diagnose and treat the patient in their home.
Even with a combined fire department, Eugene-Springfield Fire is facing a budget crisis because of ambulance transport costs. Springfield says the mobile primary care system could save the city millions of dollars over several years. Each year, it transports a large number of Medicaid and uninsured patients. The city is only reimbursed for a portion of Medicaid transports. Over the last year, that reimbursement has dropped by about thirty percent. Typically, each ambulance ride costs between $1,100 and $1,400.
"We think we can do it [mobile primary care[ for less than half the cost of an emergency room visit, so whether people can pay for it or not, it's going to save the city . . . money, it's going to save hospitals,” said Niel Laudati, Community Relations Manager for the City of Springfield.
Customers in the city's FireMed program will pay a reduced rate if they use the program.
"I can't wait to actually see it used for that first time . . . a senior - who's got new medication and she's sick on a Saturday night - doesn't have to take that ambulance trip," said Laudati.
Springfield's entry in the contest is up for a grand prize of $5 million. Second, third, fourth or fifth place prizes could net the city $1 million. The top five prizes will be picked by a panel of innovation experts. Springfield is also in the running for a fan favorite prize of $500,000.
The fan favorite prize is up for a public vote. If you'd like to take part, click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/19/vote-mayors-challenge-fan_n_2716857.html?ir=Business.
If Springfield wins the grand prize, Laudati says it would be enough money for the city to launch the program in a pilot phase for three years in both Springfield and Eugene. Even if the city doesn't win, Springfield says it will still launch the program in the coming years.
To learn more about Springfield's idea, click the following link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-lundberg/mayors-challenge-springfi_b_2711453.html?utm_hp_ref=mayors-challenge.
Mayors Challenge Finalist: Springfield, OR
This video is part of Springfield's entry in the Mayors Challenge Fan Favorite Selection, a partnership between The Huffington Post and Bloomberg Philanthropies that allows readers to vote on their favorite idea among the 20 Mayors Challenge finalists. To view the ideas from all 20 finalists, visit www.huffingtonpost.com/mayors-challenge. The Mayors Challenge is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit bloomberg.org/mayorschallenge. Follow the conversation on Twitter @BloombergDotOrg #MayorsChallenge and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BloombergDotOrg.