Mobile Integrated Health Program

Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) is a service of the Fire Department alongside firefighting, rescue, and EMS that provides enhanced services to frequent 9-1-1 callers, highly complex patients, persons with non-emergent medical complaints, and those with social needs. The MIH Program aims to reduce the burden of these responses from our Operations division to improve their readiness and availability, while providing exceptional care to needy and vulnerable people in Seattle. Our work encompasses the Health One response team, the Vulnerable Adult reporting program, and client case management, all in partnership with the Seattle Human Services Department.

Link to more information on case management

Link to more information on the Health One program.

Link to more information on the Vulnerable Adult program.

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FAQ

What is the background of the SFD Mobile Integrated Health Program?

In May 2014, the Department launched a Low Acuity Alarm Task Force to investigate and provide recommendations on how to address the growing burden of non-emergent or lower acuity responses by the department. In 2015, the Task Force developed a Blueprint that described action steps necessary to implement a formal Low Acuity Alarm Program, which launched in 2016 with two full-time staff members. In 2019 the program name changed to Mobile Integrated Health to better reflect its work and align it with the standard terminology in the fire service. That same year saw the launch of its first mobile response unit.

What is a low acuity alarm? 

What is a low acuity alarm? A low acuity alarm is a fire department call for service that does not present an immediate danger to life, health, or property. Low acuity alarms can be medical in nature, such as minor pain or flu-like symptoms, or fire-related, such as a malfunctioning smoke detector.

Why are low acuity alarms an issue?

Why are low acuity alarms an issue? Units responding to low acuity alarms are committed to that incident, and are therefore unavailable for fires, rescues, or serious medical emergencies. In addition to making SFD units unavailable for true emergencies, low acuity alarms are often resolved with unnecessary transport to hospital emergency departments, which stresses the medical system and may not provide the right level of care for the patient’s complaint. 

How are other jurisdictions addressing this problem? 

How are other jurisdictions addressing the problem? Fire departments around the country are experimenting with many strategies to cope with these incidents as well as situations such as behavioral crises, homeless crises, and more. Some departments are using “community paramedics” who visit patients outside of 9-1-1 calls and help them manage their medical conditions. Others use dedicated low acuity or mobile integrated health response teams, while some are investing in more resources in their 9-1-1 centers to better triage and direct non-emergency calls.

How can I get assistance for someone who is reliant on 911? 

How do I get assistance for someone who is reliant on 9-1-1? If you know someone who is or is becoming reliant on 9-1-1 and you believe that abuse, neglect, or self-neglect are involved, you can call Washington DSHS at 1-866-END-HARM (363-4276) or use their online reporting form. General queries regarding low acuity responses and assistance for citizens can be directed to the SFD Mobile Integrated Health Program at (206) 233-7109

Where can I get information about non-emergency resources?

The best one-stop-shop for information in the Seattle area is 2-1-1. You can call 2-1-1 toll free during business hours, or visit www.211.org or go directly to King County 2-1-1 at https://www.crisisconnections.org/get-help/. This resource provides information about healthcare, education, housing, disabilities, transportation, employment and financial assistance, food banks, immigrant issues, legal assistance, LGBTQ support, and aging.

If someone is in mental health crisis or having thoughts of suicide, you can call the King County Crisis Line 24/7 at (866) 427-4747, or the Warm Line at 877-500-WARM (9276). 

For questions relating to addiction and recovery, call (866) 789-1511, 24/7.For questions around aging, caregiver support, and disabilities, visit  http://www.agingkingcounty.org/ or call (206) 684-0152