Snohomish County now using nurses for non-emergency medical calls to 911

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Snohomish County has a new tool for 911 response that will help free up emergency responders.

It’s called the Snohomish County Nurse Navigation Program. A nurse will now handle some medical calls.

If a 911 call comes in that’s considered a non-emergency, the caller will be directed to a nurse who will help them decide the best course action, such as a virtual visit with a doctor or a trip to a clinic or urgent care center.

The program will keep more first responders available for emergencies.

“If you call 911 for a medical issue, typically an ambulance transports you to a hospital emergency room, but the emergency room may not be the right place to receive the right care for your situation. If we have more appropriate options for patients with less acute needs, first responders are more likely to be available for our community’s most serious, life-threatening emergencies like heart attacks, strokes or serious car crashes,” said Everett Fire Chief Dave DeMarco.

Ambulances will still be dispatched for 911 callers with medical emergencies.

Calls to Snohomish County 911 for fire and emergency medical services rose 27% from 2019 to 2023. Of the 111,476 fire and EMS calls last year, up to 17,000 may have been handled through the Nurse Navigation program, according to a news release.

Seattle and Vancouver, Wash., already use the program.

For more information about the program, visit this link.

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