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Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: City of Seattle, Human Services Department, Seattle-King County AAA

Learn how this Washington AAA developed a mobile integrated health program that helps reduce the burden of non-emergency 911 calls on a local fire department and connects vulnerable older adults with the services and supports they need for stability.

We're proud to highlight the award-winning work of the 2020 winners of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week, we are focusing on the City of Seattle, Human Services Department, Seattle-King County Area Agency on Aging's Mobile Integrated Healthcare Partnership program. The agency was a 2020 Aging Innovations Award winner in the Health-LTSS Integration category. The 2020 AIA Awards were made possible thanks to the support of Centene.
 
For four years, the Seattle Human Services Department has partnered with the Seattle Fire Department through programs focused on high utilizers and vulnerable adults. In 2019, Health One was established, rounding out the city's Mobile Integrated Health partnership.
 
Health One is a mobile integrated health program that helps reduce the burden of non-emergency 911 calls on the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) and connects vulnerable older adults with the services and supports they need for stability. A dedicated vehicle with two firefighters and medics and a Seattle Human Services Department Aging and Disability Services (ADS) case manager responds to non-emergency calls.
 
The Health One Program expands a four-year partnership between ADS and SFD through two programs: Low Acuity Alarm (follow-up with 911 callers whose complaints do not present immediate danger) and Vulnerable Adult (identification of adults at risk for abuse and self-neglect). An ADS case manager and SFD personnel also provide training and resources for areas that have a high volume of non-emergency calls, such as shelters and assisted living communities.
 
In its first three months of operation, Health One responded to 220 emergency calls. The median client age was 52. The three-person staffing model is highly effective, allowing for safety, the development of a rapport with clients and the ability to document activities. The Mayor of Seattle plans to add another vehicle soon.
 
At the start of the pandemic, the Mobile Integrated Healthcare Partnership adapted its protocols with ADS case managers helping remotely, either at SFD headquarters or from telecommuting sites and service expanded to the entire city of Seattle. After adequate safety protocols were established, ADS case managers returned to riding with firefighters in mid-May.
 
This model can be replicated in any community where vehicles can respond to non-emergency 911 calls more easily than fire trucks. The city of Seattle can share data on the service's effectiveness.
 
Learn more about the Mobile Integrated Healthcare Partnership program in AgeWise King County. Questions? Contact Cathy Knight, Cathy.Knight@Seattle.gov.
 
For more information about the 2020 winners, see the press release and read the book of winners! To read about past winners and find other best practices for your agency to consider, visit our Best Practices Clearinghouse page.

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