DeKalb’s ambulance service provider agrees to increase staffing and resources

Effective Tuesday, May 29, DeKalb County’s ambulance provider, American Medical Response has agreed to immediately increase staffing and add ambulances in low call volume and high risk areas.

Ambulances will be placed in two DeKalb County fire stations in Dunwoody and Stonecrest.

“The lives and safety of our citizens is our number one priority. The agreement with AMR resulted from public feedback and numerous meetings and discussions during the past year with the county.”

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond

Within 30 days, AMR will contract with a third-party ambulance service to provide additional resources. AMR will provide daily reports and will attend monthly review meetings with DeKalb County Public Safety leadership.

In DeKalb County’s integrated Emergency Medical Services, Fire Rescue units respond to the majority of medical calls and begin providing appropriate patient care until an ambulance arrives to transport the patient. All firefighters are certified Emergency Medical Technicians and many are certified paramedics. This level of training is consistent with the crews of an ambulance service, which includes one paramedic and one EMT.

Other elements of the agreement include:

  • AMR will ensure that the hourly crew positions are fully staffed.
  • AMR will provide staffing to increase the available ambulance units and reduce the number of incidents where no ambulances are available for incoming calls.
  • AMR will provide a revised Posting and Deployment Plan for review in 10 business days.

In early 2017, DeKalb County Fire Rescue leadership requested a mitigation plan to improve service delivery. After AMR consistently failed to meet minimum contractual standards, AMR was notified that the company would be penalized for noncompliance. Since September, more than $1.5 million in fines have been assessed by DeKalb County.

DeKalb County’s contract with AMR began in June 2013 and ends Dec. 31.

The county is in the process of drafting a request for proposals for a new EMS transport services contract.

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