AMR: Ambulance response times improving

Published 11:49 pm Monday, May 7, 2018


NATCHEZ — American Medical Response took over as the sole emergency responder for all emergency 911 calls in Adams County on May 1, and company representatives and county officials said they already see improvement in emergency response times.

Since May 1, District 2 Supervisor David Carter said at the supervisors meeting Monday, 95 percent of calls within city limits have been answered within the 9-minute goal and 100 percent of calls in the county have been answered within the 18-minute goal.

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Carter said prior to switching to one response service for all emergencies, only approximately 50 percent of calls were answered within the respective time limits.

“I hope y’all can maintain this,” Carter said in the meeting.

AMR spokesman Tim Houghton provided the data from all 39 calls AMR answered between May 1 and May 6 and said it shows improvement.

“There were a lot of accusations slung around here in previous meeting,” Houghton said. “(This is) us putting those hypotheticals to bed.”

For calls within city limits, the average response time was 6 minutes and 55 seconds. The average time for calls outside of city limits was 8 minutes and 43 seconds.

Houghton said those low numbers “set a high bar” for AMR to follow, but that he believed it was a good example of just how well the new system can operate.

Because the actual contract for AMR has not yet been signed, county attorney Scott Slover said AMR is currently operating with no contractual penalties if the company does not meet its response time quota.

“Well, we’ve never had penalties in place before,” said Mike Lazarus, District 1 supervisor. “This first contract will be the hardest to do.”

Supervisors published a request for proposals in January for a single ambulance service in order to decrease response times and to give the county a way to hold the ambulance providers accountable for slow response times.

The county will be able to impose penalties for missed response time quotas, Slover said, once the contract is completed and signed, which he said should happen in the coming month.

Though the results are tentative and early, Houghton said the recent results are indicative of an improving emergency response system for the county.