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January 26, 2017
Officials push for reform of psych patient medical transport
By EMS1 Staff
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles county officials voted unanimously Tuesday to sponsor state legislation that will lift a ban prohibiting paramedics from transporting psychiatric patients to mental health and sobering centers.
Currently, paramedics are legally only permitted to transport such patients to the hospital, reported the Daily News. Officials said the practice is outdated and crowds emergency rooms.
“Sobering centers and mental health urgent care centers are more humane places to bring people,” Department of Health Services Director Mitchell Katz said.
Fire department officials said the change will decrease costs and serve as a more effective way to treat patients.
The Los Angeles Fire Department received over 11,500 emergency psychiatric calls in 2015. The department recently completed a pilot program that allowed a nurse to accompany emergency responders so that a patient can be transported to urgent care instead of the hospital.