Ambulance response is life or death

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Adams County has one of the slowest ambulance response times out of Mississippi’s 82 counties, county supervisor David Carter says.

In an effort to remedy the slow response times, the Adams County Board of Supervisors decided earlier this year to change the county’s antiquated system of rotating between two ambulance services for emergencies to a single-provider system.

Under the old system, Metro Miss-Lou Ambulance Service and American Medical Response ambulance service responded to emergency calls on a rotating basis.

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The new contract, signed in February and is now slated to go into effect May 1, makes AMR the sole ambulance provider for the county’s 911 emergency calls.

That has left Metro questioning the decision. A company representative attending Monday’s board meeting asked if Metro can continue to respond to the county’s emergencies if patients ask for specifically for their company.

Under the new contract, however, only AMR will be allowed to respond to the county’s 911 emergency calls, regardless of patient preference. Non-emergencies are open to Metro if patients request their service. We understand Metro’s frustration with losing the business. However, we do not believe it serves anyone to have the company’s representatives continue to question the decision. We all need to give the new system a fair and thorough trial and then judge based on the results.

Carter said the state’s counties with the slowest ambulance response times use the outmoded rotation system between ambulance providers and county’s single ambulance providers have better response times because the contracted ambulance company can be held accountable under terms of the contract.

We commend Adams County Supervisors for making an effort to improve the county’s ambulance response times and believe contracting with a single ambulance provider is best for the community.

The new system has a six-month trial period after which it will be review to see if it is working. We will be watching closely.

Ambulance response times are important and can make the difference between life and death.