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Health & Hospitals

Feb. 28 - Chatham Emergency Services Announces Participation in New Federal Innovation Project

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

February 28, 2020 - The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center announced that Chatham Emergency Medical Services was selected as one of 205 agencies across the nation and one of seven in Georgia, to participate in the Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) Model Innovation Program. ET3 is a patient care and payment model that aims to allow Medicare beneficiaries to access the most appropriate emergency services at the right time and place.

The selected agencies include applicants from 36 states and the District of Columbia, and represents a variety of EMS organization types (government-owned, fire-based, private non-profit, private for-profit, and hospital-based). Selected applicants also represent rural and urban regions. You can find the list of selected applicants, along with their corresponding County(ies) and State at the link here and under the “Additional Information” area on the ET3 Model website

This program is designed to get the patient the right level of care, relieve pressure on emergency departments from minor illness and injuries, and save the federal government billions of dollars.

Chatham EMS CEO Chuck Kearns said, “Chatham Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) Paramedics have already begun training in advanced patient care skills in anticipation of this announcement. This will be a tremendous new opportunity to get appropriate medical care to 9-1-1 Callers in Chatham County. Our program will be led by Deputy Chief Lydia McCrary, MHA, Paramedic.”

The ET-3 program would allow “Community Paramedics” with advanced medical training to treat some patients at the scene; contact a higher level of medical care through tele-health and release the patient, avoiding unnecessary hospital emergency department stays. It will also allow paramedics to transport patients with minor illness (infections) or injuries (needing stitches) to alternative destinations like walk-in/urgent care centers.  Finally, patients could also be transported directly to specialty care centers (ex. Psychiatric facilities) and bypass emergency departments if they had no other medical needs.

Below is a link to CMS’ pilot project, “Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport” program, commonly referred to at ET-3. In all of the examples above, CMS would compensate the ambulance service where they do not do so now.


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