Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Bowser Administration Takes Important Step Forward in EMS Reform
(WASHINGTON, DC) – In September, Mayor Muriel Bowser and FEMS Chief Gregory Dean presented the first steps of the District’s plan to reform our emergency medical response system. Part of the proposal included emergency legislation passed by the Council of the District of Columbia that allows the District to put more ambulances on the street by authorizing FEMS to contract with third party service providers to transport low-priority calls.
Today, the Bowser Administration is announcing a major step forward in that initiative. FEMS has contracted with American Medical Response (AMR) to perform supplemental pre-hospital medical care and transportation for basic life support calls within the District when requested by the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS).
“As the demand for pre-hospital medical care continues to grow, this is an extremely important step in EMS reform,” said Mayor Bowser. “This agreement will supplement our resources so that FEMS can most effectively deliver on its mission – responding to medical emergencies, and saving lives.”
FEMS personnel will continue to arrive on scene to all 911 calls for pre-hospital medical care and transportation. Those personnel will evaluate the patient to determine the level of medical care and resources required, including how the patient will be transported to the hospital.
Patients experiencing minor injuries or illnesses, such as cold symptoms, ankle sprains, and general non acute sick calls will be taken to the hospital for additional medical treatment by AMR. Patients who are experiencing life threatening or time sensitive injuries or illnesses will be taken to the hospital by FEMS.
Life threatening or time sensitive injuries or illnesses include, but are not limited to: cardiac or respiratory arrest, chest pain, heart attack, stroke, major trauma, unconsciousness, any shock state or altered mental status and other serious injuries or illnesses, depending on the circumstances, including patient presentation and medical history.
“It’s important that our units are available to respond to these critical emergency calls,” said DCFEMS Chief Gregory Dean. “These additional resources will also allow our members more time to receive the necessary training to enhance their skills and reinforce our standards for patient care. While this is an important step forward, it is only one step of a broader plan. We still have a lot of work to do to reform our system and improve patient outcomes.”
AMR will operate and maintain a sufficient number of ambulances for responding to incidents within the District during the high-call volume period from 7 am to 1 am, seven days a week.
AMR will “ramp up” over the next 30 days by hiring staff, completing training and acquiring vehicles from the contract award date to begin deployment of its ambulances on basic life support calls, when requested by FEMS.