TOPEKA (KSNT) – Shawnee County is considering a new program for non-emergency medical calls to 911. It’s called the “Nurse Navigation Line” and would give emergency dispatchers another option for medical calls other than sending AMR.

Shawnee County Emergency Management and AMR Topeka/Shawnee County presented the possible program to the Shawnee County Commission Thursday. The new program is expected to cost around $60,000 a year and would be run by Kansas licensed nurses.

AMR Operations Manager Mickey Huber said nurses would assess the call and could arrange transportation to the hospital, urgent care center, or doctor’s office. They could also schedule telehealth appointments for patients.

“We’re trying to take the load off of not only us but the dispatch center,” Huber said. “This should allow the nurses to spend the needed time on the phone because emergency medical dispatchers, fire and law enforcement dispatchers just don’t have time.”

AMR Topeka/Shawnee County transported around 18,000 people to the hospital in 2021. Huber said this new program could eliminate around 4,000 of those calls, which would free up space in local emergency rooms.

The Shawnee County Commission voted to have staff negotiate the Nurse Navigation Line into the current AMR contract and investigate what funding could be used to pay for it.