The cities of Stonecrest and Dunwoody now have additional emergency medical service units from American Medical Response following an agreement between the EMS provider and DeKalb County.
The additional ambulances are part of an agreement that went into effect May 28 to address AMR’s poor performance related to its Contract for EMS Transport in DeKalb County.
The agreement calls for the units, detached of the Deployment Plan, to operate on a 24/7 basis to cover areas with noted low call volume/high risk for extended response times, and for AMR dispatchers located in the DeKalb E911 Center to monitor the system to ensure effective use of these resources.
The emergency units will be based at DeKalb Fire Station #17 at 3900 Evans Mills Road in Stonecrest, and at Fire Station #21 at 1020 Crown Pointe Parkway in Dunwoody.
AMR has provided 911 ambulance service for the county since June 2013. Its contract is set to end on Dec. 31.
It is contracting a third-party ambulance service within 30 days to provide the additional resources.
DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said the lives and safety of DeKalb citizens is the number one priority.
“The agreement with AMR resulted from public feedback and numerous meetings and discussions during the past year with the county,” he said.
The agreement comes in the wake of AMR's poor response time and failure to meet its contractual standards. The failures have cost the company more than $1.5 million in fines from DeKalb County.
In March, Dunwoody declared an "EMS Crisis" and City Council member Terry Nall pointed out that AMR’s response time of almost 15 minutes is below the national standard of 8 minutes, 59 seconds.
To provide a high level of service, DeKalb Fire Chief Darnell Fullum said that the county and AMR need to have the same mindset.
“It is important to understand the service level we require of ourselves and our transport provider,” Fullum said.
Per the agreement, AMR also will:
n Ensure that the hourly crew positions are fully staffed by investing in travel expenses, additional overtime costs, shift differentials and bonus stipends to compensate paramedics and EMTs from across the region to work in the system.
n Staff and deploy previously agreed upon Basic Life Support (BLS) units as a part of the Deployment Model to complement the Advance Life Support (ALS) units to increase the available units and reduce the incidents of no ambulances available for incoming calls.
n Augment the overall coverage by developing an agreement with a third-party ambulance service provider to deploy additional transport units in the system within 30 days. This will continue to be a strategy until a willing provider is found and an agreement is reached.
n Review the current Posting and Deployment Plan using the most current data, and will provide a revised Posting and Deployment Plan for review in 10 business days.
n Provide a daily report to DeKalb County that outlines the previous 24-hour operational period of performance.
n Conduct continuous monitoring of its services and participate in monthly review meetings with DeKalb County Public Safety leadership.
DeKalb is currently looking for a new EMS transport service provider.