CRISP CO., GA (WALB) - Rural hospitals in Georgia are struggling, several have closed in recent years.
Crisp County EMS is using a state grant to free up resources for the emergency room at Crisp Regional Hospital.
Crisp Regional Hospital is one of four small hospitals in the state to receive the Rural Hospital Stabilization Grant worth $750,000.
It funds the Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program, a way to free up resources for the emergency room and ambulances.
"When you're tied up with something that may not necessarily need an ambulance, and someone else calls that may have an emergency, it creates a problem for us to respond," said Crisp County EMS Director David Edwards.
In January, they identified those "frequent flyers," people who continuously call 911 for things other than emergencies.
"We've had some that call 50 or 60 times a year," said Project Coordinator Leigh Bailey with Crisp County Regional Hospital.
Now, the paramedics and EMTs visit the frequent flyers, check their health and move on, it's lowered the number of times those people call.
"We can help them make sure they have their medicine, taking their medicine, things they need to be doing on a daily basis," explained Edwards.
The project also helps keep people from being readmitted to the hospital within 30 days due to the same problems.
"We want them to be healthier. A lot of these re-admits are chronic illness patients and a lot of what we do is help them to become compliant with their chronic illness," said Bailey.
Crisp County has gone from having 35 re-admissions within 30 days at the beginning of the year, to now 4.
The grant expires in December, but the hospital plans to continue the program.