11.28.23 – GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP)
A Greensboro couple has allegedly cost Guilford County taxpayers millions of dollars by calling 911 thousands of times.
They’re each facing four counts of misuse of the 911 system.
Court documents show Michael and Laura Haithcock have called for emergency services 6,200 times since 2004. That’s on average about 326 times per year, and it’s cost Guilford County $2 million.
The problem isn’t that these people contact EMS, it’s that they contact EMS when they don’t need it.
It’s a crime court services representatives say Michael Haithcock has been convicted of before a total of nine times. The most recent conviction was in February of this year. Arrest warrants for the 57-year-old detail how he calls EMS, refuses treatment and leaves the hospital without receiving medical attention.
His wife, Laura Haithcock, 53, is facing the same charges. Documents reveal she calls and requests services for her spouse and then takes him to the hospital without EMS transport.
A spokesperson with Guilford County Emergency Services told FOX8 the average cost per 911 response is $315.
“There are many people who dial 911 for EMS services because they just do not have the resources, family or caretakers who are available to assist them with their daily functioning needs,” said Laurie Jones, the division director for aging and adult services with Guilford County’s Department of Health and Human Services. “They dial 911 and to them it is an emergency.”
That’s why Guilford County EMS is partnering with the Family Justice Center and the Department of Social Services to create an adult welfare team.
“What we’re trying to do is to get into these homes, work with these citizens to address their needs closely, make some referrals, get them the resources that are needed so that they can just maintain a quality of life,” said Jones.
The team will take referrals from EMS and fire to identify people who need help formulating care plans.
“There are several repeat customers that they have that call them on a regular basis, so we’ll start with those,” said Jones.
In a time when it’s hard hire first responders, county leaders hope this new program will lighten their load.