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Home > Topics > EMS Management
December 18, 2013

Contract dispute puts freeze on ambulance services

A new report shows Oahu, Hawaii's only private ambulance service turned down nearly 40 percent of calls, has lagging response times


OAHU, Hawaii — The Leeward Coast is not getting the ambulance service it deserves.  That's according to the area's Councilwoman who says a new report shows ambulance response times are lagging.

"What the report does for Leeward Coast residents is, confirms what they've been telling me for many years and that is they believe our ambulance service isn't up to par with other areas in the island," says City Councilwoman Kymberly Marcos Pine. Over a two month period, the City tracked 911 response times in West Oahu and found out the City's only private ambulance service, AMR, turned down 30 to 40% of requested calls.

"This could lead to possible loss of life if a person misdiagnosed themselves and it's much more serious or further injuries for my community," Pine says. But AMR says those numbers are not accurate.

Full story: Contract dispute puts freeze on some ambulance services

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Dakota Cortez Dakota Cortez Thursday, December 19, 2013 4:10:04 PM Private ambulance isn't interested in providing quality 911 services. That doesn't make them $ They are interested in obtaining a station to use for private transports.
Andrew Collins Andrew Collins Thursday, December 19, 2013 4:42:38 PM I disagree with that. That has nothing to do with the quality of care that a patient gets.
Timothy Jones Timothy Jones Thursday, December 19, 2013 7:08:38 PM AMR Provides care to everyone. They don't discriminate. Private service or not. there when needed
Sandy Gamlin Sandy Gamlin Thursday, December 19, 2013 7:56:34 PM Dakota your an idiot. Sorry but that's complete bull shit
Ben Phelps Ben Phelps Friday, December 20, 2013 3:14:44 PM Actually Dakota isn't as stupid as you may think. Yes, the patient still receives quality care only bc of EMTs and Paramedics that actually care about thier patients. The companies themselves are very money oriented and if they aren't guaranteed payment, especially for interfacility transfers, they will NOT take the call.
Andrew Kahananui Andrew Kahananui Friday, December 20, 2013 3:20:38 PM Uh, pono 'ole. This needs to change if it's true.
John Berry John Berry Friday, December 20, 2013 4:18:52 PM Dakota, its the attitude such as yours that has placed EMS in the position its in. Keep in mind that less then 75% of the US is covered by a " Full Time " fire agency. Biggest reason is tax base. If the tax funding isnt there, then how do you staff it?? You turn to private serves. In most cases private services do just as good a job as municipal based services. And as far as your comment about looking for stations use for private transports, most private services that cover 911 have a contract requiring 911 coverage. Most services will not deplete their coverage and have to turn down 911 calls. While it is the interfacility transports that actually do pay the best, they will sit on those to provide 911 coverage. Keep up the uneducated fed by union us vs them mentality and keep EMS the wicked step child of public safety
MedTrans Servicios de Rescate MedTrans Servicios de Rescate Friday, December 20, 2013 4:31:57 PM We want to be in that city in order to compete. This happens when there is a monopoly
Nicholas Moore Nicholas Moore Friday, December 20, 2013 4:57:26 PM AMR is private sector. They work for profit just as much, if not more than to provide patient care. Those who work within the conpany understand this.
Michael Smith Michael Smith Friday, December 20, 2013 7:53:44 PM Many, many moons ago, I worked for Randle-Eastern Ambulance Service in Miami, Florida and it was common practice to cancel or refuse service to whom could not afford the cost of the ambulance. I always condemned the process and would transport anyway, even though my company almost forbid it. On many occasions I almost lost my job because I decided to transport "undesirables" to the hospital. But we have to remember that the patient comes first and foremost in our service and ethics. Remembering that some day it might be you.
Ruth McGuire Woolery Ruth McGuire Woolery Saturday, December 21, 2013 6:51:01 AM My experience has been different. I have worked over 30 years in EMS, for both private services and for fire departments. I have little patience for the private-is-worse v. fire-is-worse discussion. AI expect all providers to be professional (and I've seen unprofessional on both sides). The same for the agencies (I've seen great private companies and great fire-based EMS services, and I've seen horrid.) And being for-profit isn't always bad - don't think I haven't seen a chief or two making decision on how to run his department that benefits him the most. I agree that it comes down to providers actually caring about their patients - something, at least in my neck of the woods, seems to be less common, Why anyone would want to work on an ambulance who doesn't enjoy caring for people still boggles my mind.
Ruth McGuire Woolery Ruth McGuire Woolery Saturday, December 21, 2013 6:53:25 AM I used to work for a private service whose owner told me "we provide a better service when we have competition".
David Stoeckl David Stoeckl Saturday, December 21, 2013 1:58:08 PM Nicholas Moore Your leadership and management team may be different than mine. Just saying. Their concern is strictly profit, not patient care or legality/regulations. Which, long-term is not a good proposition.
Tony Smith Tony Smith Saturday, December 21, 2013 8:13:34 PM Like most private ambulance companies, AMR only does 911 so that they can be the exclusive provider for non-emergency transports which is how they make their money. Communities need to wake up and require these contractors to provide EMS services independent of the transfer units. No 911 truck should ever be dispatched for a transfer.
Tony Smith Tony Smith Saturday, December 21, 2013 8:17:45 PM Andrew Collins When a unit isn't available for a 911 call because they're all tied up on transfers...which is a common occurrence...that affects patient care.
Dakota Cortez Dakota Cortez Sunday, December 22, 2013 12:06:53 AM I'd rather see a municipal EMS service. If the FD doesn't want it or can't cover it then create a separate agency to handle it. It doesn't have to just be fire, but fire is often the best equipped to handle it and do a good job. County EMS and regional EMS services do a great job too. I have seen and worked for privates who abuse 911 contracts for trips .
Dakota Cortez Dakota Cortez Sunday, December 22, 2013 12:10:00 AM No its really not. Have you worked for a private or seen how companies like that operate who have dual contracts? Many will spread their units thin and not have adequate coverage, many will call in transport trips as emergencies to have the 911 truck take the trip, many will run their medics non-stop and burn them out fast resulting in lesser quality care due to exhaustion. Equipment is often sub par and units are often bare minimum as far as stocking goes.

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