Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
Medstar is using a registered nurse to help people find appropriate medical care when the 911 call is not a real emergency.
Calling 911 in Fort Worth for an ambulance may get you a registered nurse instead.
MedStar started its new nurse screening program Monday, sending what are called "very low acuity" calls to a newly hired nurse to determine whether the caller really does need an ambulance.
"If it meets an emergency criteria, you're going to get an ambulance right away" said MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky.
But others may be referred to their own doctor, or sent by cab to a nearby clinic instead of the hospital emergency room. However, if callers insist on an ambulance, one will be sent.
"If they decide they just want to go to the emergency department that's where they'll go, but it does give them that option to go to an alternative care site" said Debbie Krauser with The Fort Worth Emergency Services Collaborative.
Medstar said about 9 percent of its calls in the past year would have qualified for the new program.