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Okla. Ambulance Policy Reduces Turnaways

(AP) TULSA, Okla. – Four months have passed at hospital emergency rooms in Tulsa without a patient brought by ambulance being directed to another medical center, thanks to a policy adopted by the emergency-medical transit agency that serves both Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

The Emergency Medical Services Authority embarked a year ago on a new policy to deal with hospital diversions. The policy directs paramedics and emergency medical technicians to decline a hospital’s diversion request when a patient is stable and has an established relationship with a particular hospital or hospital physician.

EMSA data show that 755 patients in Tulsa and Oklahoma City were diverted to other hospitals from January to April 2008. During the same period this year, only 89 patients were diverted in both metropolitan areas. No patients were diverted in either city during July, the fourth consecutive zero-divert month for Tulsa and the first for Oklahoma City.