Harrison County supervisors heard from American Medical Response Monday about ambulance performance and response times. … He also answered questions from supervisors about a recent special report on WLOX by Doug Walker, which raised concerns about response time. … He defended AMR’s overall record and said with tens of thousands of calls, there will be cases when they could have been better.
Records review shows good emergency response time, but thousands of ‘exceptions’
Source: Doug Walker, WLOX, July 28, 2015
The contract between the county and AMR is very specific about response times. Ambulances have to respond to calls in the cities within seven minutes and 59 seconds. In rural areas of the county, they have to be on scene within 16 minutes and 59 seconds. Other areas have different times. After filing a public records request asking for response data from the past two years, I found out there a lot of exceptions to this rule. … Here’s an example: In 2014, AMR responded to 34,062 calls, meeting the response time goal about 90 percent of the time. Those numbers look impressive, but here’s the catch: AMR claimed 5,493 exceptions in 2014, a rate of 16 percent of all calls. … AMR officials defend the company’s performance saying the average response time in 2014 was 8 minutes and 25 seconds, well within the guidelines set by the county. There’s no doubt AMR is fulfilling the terms of the contract, and even exceeding it. But all of the exceptions are catching some county supervisors by surprise. It’s in a report they don’t even receive. … AMR response time concerns are not just limited to Harrison County. In recent months, the cities of Brandon and Pearl have ended contracts with AMR over similar concerns. Meanwhile, city leaders in Jackson, and nearby Ridgeland, both currently served by AMR, are also considering contracting with another ambulance service to provide emergency medical care.