Knox County leaders meet to discuss future of ambulance services
Outside firm Fitch and Associates presented their findings after analyzing the county and AMR’s response.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - After months of concerns regarding ambulance response times and availability, the Knox County Commission met to talk about what the future of ambulance services in the county might look like.
Fitch and Associates, a firm that the county hired to take a closer look at how the county’s ambulance services operate presented their findings to county leaders on Monday afternoon.
“We’ve got to figure out what we can do better what can we do within,” said Matt Myers who is the county’s director of procurement.
In the report, Fitch and Associates pointed out that AMR and the county agreeing to change their standard response time from 10 to 17 minutes allowed AMR to cover the area with fewer ambulances.
While this lengthens the response time it helps AMR who is in the process of training more staff to help a staffing shortage. According to the report, AMR is at 65% staffing at the moment.
On top of staffing shortages and longer response times, ambulances with patients in them are having to wait at local hospitals an average of more than 50 minutes per ride according to the report.
“If you can get the staffing numbers back up I think you can drop some of these numbers down,” said Myers.
Several county commissioners including Kim Frazier believe that solving the challenges AMR faces starts with figuring out how to eliminate these long waits at hospitals.
Knox County leadership is mulling over four options, including AMR, of who will provide ambulance services for the next contract, as the one they have had with AMR for the last 10 years is coming to an end.
According to Myers, the county hopes to have a recommendation on who will be awarded the contract by the end of the week with a vote expected sometime in November.
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