Fresno Co. ambulances only transporting patients with medical emergencies as they face surge

Fresno County residents can still call 911 for medical help, but it doesn't mean they'll get transported.
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- As local hospitals have fewer beds available and an increase in emergency room visits, Fresno County emergency medical service responders are reimplementing a policy that limits which patients they transport.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health and Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency readopted the policy last week.

EMS crews will now only take patients with emergency medical conditions to hospitals.

Fresno County residents can still call 911 for medical help, but it doesn't mean they'll get transported.

The Fresno County health department director says paramedics will assess each person to determine whether their condition requires immediate care.

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The goal is to reduce the number of non-emergent calls ambulance crews are receiving, so they can respond to life-threatening emergencies.

Officials say that hospitals in Fresno County have low patient bed capacity and deal with staffing issues, affecting how long it takes for a person to be admitted.

EMS Coordinator Dale Dotson says that crews sometimes have to wait between two to four hours before transferring a patient into the hospital's care and getting back on the road.

Health officials urge anyone who isn't suffering from a life-threatening condition to call their primary physician or seek medical care through a clinic or telehealth app.

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