Issues arise with DC private ambulance partnership

An internal memo from D.C. Fire and EMS shows concern over compatibility issues between city ambulances and AMR units

WASHINGTON —The partnership between D.C. Fire and EMS and American Medical Response, which began Monday, may be adding to slow response times instead of eliminating them.

NBC Washington reported an internal memo from D.C. Fire and EMS shows concern over incompatibility issues between the city ambulances and AMR.

According to the memo, the computers on the city units do not communicate with the computers on the AMR ambulances, meaning patient information cannot be transferred electronically. This is forcing D.C. personnel to remain on scene and use paper forms to transfer the information.

Additionally, AMR units are not permitted to respond to any life-threatening calls, regardless of whether a D.C. ambulance is available. A cardiac arrest patient had to wait 28 minutes for a D.C. ambulance despite an AMR ambulance being nearby, according to the report.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean said the addition of the private ambulance service would reduce response times. 

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