AMR Struggles to Meet 90% Response Time Goal in Knox County, Tennessee

American Medical Response (AMR), the sole ambulance provider in Knox County, Tennessee, has failed to meet the county's 90% response time goal, with current rates standing at around 85%, despite a 31% increase in staffing, sparking concerns about public health and safety in the region. The company is working to improve response times, particularly in Knoxville city limits, by adjusting staffing and ambulance deployment, and implementing a Nurse Navigation program to alleviate strain on the system." This description focuses on the primary topic of AMR's response time performance, the main entity of AMR, and the context of Knox County, Tennessee. It also highlights the significant actions and consequences related to the issue, including the efforts to improve response times and the implications for public health and safety. The description provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as images of ambulances, maps of Knox County, or scenes of emergency responders in action.

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Nimrah Khatoon
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AMR Struggles to Meet 90% Response Time Goal in Knox County, Tennessee

AMR Struggles to Meet 90% Response Time Goal in Knox County, Tennessee

American Medical Response (AMR), the sole ambulance provider in Knox County, Tennessee, has failed to meet the county's goal of a 90% response time rate, despite a 31% increase in staffing. Currently, the response time rate stands at around 85%, according to AMR's first quarterly report presented to commissioners on May 13.

Why this matters: The reliability of emergency medical services has a direct impact on public health and safety, making it a critical concern for local governments and residents. Delays in response times can lead to preventable deaths and long-term health consequences, underscoring the need for effective solutions to address these issues.

AMR is in the third month of its new contract with Knox County, which includes updated guidelines for response times based on the area and severity of the call. For Priority One calls, which are life-threatening, the contract requires a response time of 10 minutes within Knoxville city limits and 20 minutes outside of the city limits.

The report divides Knox County into three zones: Knoxville, East Knox County, and West Knox County. Response times varied by zone, with Knoxville having the lowest compliance rates in March at 66% overall and 66% for priority 1 calls. In April, Knoxville's still, mark compliance improved to 81% overall and 74% for priority 1 calls. East Knox County and West Knox County had higher compliance rates, ranging from 76% to 92% across both months.

Josh Spencer, Regional Director for AMR, attributed the challenges to geographic, traffic, and population density issues. The company has been adjusting its staffing and ambulance deployment plan, including repositioning ambulances based on data analysis. AMR has made steady progress in the three months of the new contract, increasing its staffing by 31% with the aim to increase the number of EMTs from 240 to 260.

To alleviate strain on the system from patients using ambulances for primary care, AMR and Knox County have implemented a Nurse Navigation program. In March, 196 patients were referred to nurses, resulting in a mix of transports, ride-shares to care facilities, referrals to primary care physicians, self-care advisories, and telehealth care instances.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has promised to hold AMR accountable for its response times. Complaints from Knox County residents about delayed ambulances have become more common. "While not at the 90 mark yet, we set the expectation of continued improvement month over month until that mark is met," said Kevin Parton, Knox County Health Department senior director.

AMR will provide its next report on progress at a Knox County Commission meeting in August. For families waiting for an ambulance in life-or-death situations, minutes count. Spencer acknowledged the concern, stating, "If that was my family member, I would be equally concerned... What we're learning from those situations and how to improve for the next time. And that's what we're focused on. And that's our priority."

Key Takeaways

  • AMR's response time rate in Knox County, TN is 85%, below the 90% goal.
  • Delays in response times can lead to preventable deaths and long-term health consequences.
  • Knoxville has the lowest compliance rates, with 66% in March and 81% in April.
  • AMR has increased staffing by 31% and implemented a Nurse Navigation program to alleviate strain.
  • Knox County officials will hold AMR accountable for improving response times.