Watch: How to reduce ambulance delays at the hospital

An AIMHI expert panel shares best practices for shortening wall time and discuss the legal consequences of ambulance parking


By Greg Friese 

WASHINGTON — The Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI) hosted an online event (watch now) to discuss the best practices for mitigating ambulance delays. An AIMHI panel of experts shared best practices for reducing wall time, better described as a "hospital bed dela and the legal consequences of ambulance parking in the hospital.  

The combination of high hospital patient volume from the COVID-19 delta variant, critically low EMS and hospital staffing and record 911 call volume in some communities is described by AIMHI as a “perfect storm” and the "eye of this storm is the hospital emergency department.”  

Experts to discuss how to mitigate the long delays in transferring patient care to hospital personnel.
Experts to discuss how to mitigate the long delays in transferring patient care to hospital personnel. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The result is delays for ambulance crews trying to transition patients from their care to the emergency department staff.  

“Numerous agencies across the country are reporting 60, 90, and 120+ minute delays getting patients into the ED,” AIMHI writes in an event announcement. “At the same time, some hospitals are seemingly able to release EMS crews rather quickly, so they can respond to other 911 calls in the community.”  

A panel of experts for AIMHI member agencies, EMS legal and EMTALA experts, representatives from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and hospitals who have seemed to master the EMS turnaround speed presented to more than 1,000 pre-registered attendees.  

AIMHI also presented the results of a flash poll on emergency department turnaround delays. Data from nearly 6 million patient care records from ESO were also presented to quantify the gravity of this challenging issue. 

On-demand video

Panelists included:  

  • David R. Wright. Director, Quality, Safety & Oversight Group, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality 

  • Steve Wirth, Esq., EMT-P, Partner, Page, Wolfberg and Wirth, LLC 

  • James "Jimmy" Pierson, President & COO, Medic Ambulance 

  • Ken Simpson, CEO, Medstar Mobile Healthcare 

  • Matt Zavadsky, Chief Transformation Officer, Medstar Mobile Healthcare 

  • Dean Dow, President & CEO, REMSA Health 

  • Jonathan D. Washko, MBA, FACPE, NRP, AEMD, AVP, Center for EMS, Northwell Health 

  • Craig Hare, Director, Pinellas County EMS & Fire Administration 

  • Patricia Kunz Howard, Enterprise Director, Emergency Services, University of Kentucky Healthcare 

  • Dr. Heidi Knowles, Physician – Emergency Department, JPS Health Network 

  • Chris Cook, Manager – Emergency Services, Emergency Department, JPS Health Network 

Editor's note: NAEMSP is hosting a town hall on September 8, 2021, to discuss the "Effect of hospital overcrowding on EMS." 

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