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REMSA Announces a Tiered Emergency Medical Services Response System

The Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) announces that beginning in August, it will offer additional levels of out-of-hospital patient care through its 9-1-1 ambulance response in Washoe County. By expanding the emergency medical services (EMS) system to include more care provider levels, REMSA is able to ensure that the highest level of emergency medical services is available for life-threatening emergencies like cardiac arrest, stroke, uncontrolled bleeding and severe allergic reaction.

“Health care and emergency medical services are not a one-size-fits-all system,” said Aaron Abbott, executive director of EMS Operations, REMSA. “As the region’s out-of-hospital health care provider, it is important that our system be able to flex to appropriately meet the patient’s health care needs. There are many benefits to a tiered response system. One of the most important is ensuring our highest level of emergency care is available for patients with the most critical emergencies.”

This update to REMSA’s system includes making more 9-1-1 callers eligible to receive an evaluation from the REMSA Nurse Healthline, referring more callers to telehealth resources and sending an appropriate level of response – without lights and sirens – to calls that can be treated with a lower level of care. Another new component of the tiered system is the ability to deploy a Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) which will be staffed by a paramedic with an expanded scope of practice. This QRV response will be deployed when additional equipment or a higher level of care is likely. In addition, this resource may provide medical care on calls that have social service implications such as psychiatric or non-critical assaults.

A growing number of REMSA’s 911 calls are for things like a sore throat, a sprained ankle or a high fever. REMSA’s tiered response system and the ability to offer alternate care options like the Nurse Health Line or on-location telehealth, allows patients to get the right level of care.

“Our organization has a long history of implementing advancements in out-of-hospital care,” said Abbott. “Using a tiered response – a system already used by hundreds of agencies across the country – is another way that REMSA is enhancing emergency medical services in our community.”

REMSA is a private, nonprofit organization and has been serving Washoe County without any local taxpayer support since 1986. REMSA is entirely funded by user fees and all of REMSA’s income is invested into the communities it serves through programs, services, personnel and equipment.


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