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City Council Committee to Hold Hearing on AMR Performance


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – City Councilors Bud Williams and Tom Ashe say that the council’s Public Safety Committee will meet next week to discuss AMR’s performance in the city.

Media reports and citizen calls regarding the performance of AMR demands review by the City Council. The safety of the public is measured in many dimensions including the response time of the city’s ambulance service provider,” Councilor Williams says in a statement.

The city’s contract with AMR was renewed in 2010 for a three year term, and the city is now beginning the process of accepting proposals for the next contract.

In a joint statement, Ashe and Williams adds, “Ambulance services provides a critical safety net to our citizens. It is important that the response time be reviewed and evaluated by the Council and a report be made available to the public.”

The city’s current contract mandates that AMR respond to life-threatening calls within ten minutes, 95 percent of the time – a standard that the company meets.

Last month, an ABC40 Investigation found that several hundred calls involving life-threatening situations took over ten minutes for a response, ranging from 11 to 43 minutes.

In a report to the city, AMR noted that over 170 of those cases were due to a delay with the nearest ambulance being too far from the call. Thirty-five other instances listed the reason as “undertermined.”

In February, Councilor Williams noted, “We’re not here to point fingers at anyone. We’re just trying to make services better for the citizens because at the end of the day, this is about life and death.”

ABC40 reached out to AMR several times for our story, offering them an opportunity to talk about the delays on-camera, as well as requesting a ride-along to see what paramedics deal with on the roads.

AMR eventually only offered a statement pointing out those longer-than-10-minute responses are the exceptions saying, “We responded to more than 30,000 calls last year. The average response time for priority one calls was 6:48 (6 minutes and 48 seconds). We respond to each call promptly and safely.”

The meeting will be held Tuesday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. at the City Council office.

  • medic3

    It just goes to show how stupid Channel 40 is. They’ve been told 100 times ride alongside are a violation of federal HIPPA laws. And Hiram you’re right. PVEMS and National both EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY TIME, AMR’s contract is up, Channel 40 and Bud Williams rear their ugly heads. This is the 3rd time they’ve done it at contract time. Coincidence? I think not. This pack of LIES is a plant by the competition!

  • The truth

    Sounds like there is room for improvement…..

  • BigIce 413

    Hiram u right Bud Williams is a joke. He dose nothing for the community . He’s useless .

  • spfldresident

    WGGB- Please read this open letter and check your facts on the free ambulance service the city of Springfield receives from AMR.

    “Tuesday afternoon at 3:30pm, there will be a meeting held at Springfield City Hall to discuss American Medical Response and their ability to provide prehospital care to the citizens of Springfield. Below is something I would like to share with the City Councilors who will be in attendance Tuesday.

    City Councilors of Springfield,

    Despite the favorable findings of WGGB in their investigation on emergency response, you have decided to hold a forum to discuss potential short comings of the current EMS provider to the City of Springfield. Yes, that is right, I said it was favorable. Although the ebb and flow of the story might not have showed it, all of the information provided shows that AMR exceeds the expectations set for it. But maybe you should dig a little deeper. Prior to walking in the door to Tuesday’s meeting, I would like to urge you to do a little research and maybe expand your vocabulary a bit.

    For instance, for just a second, let’s forget about response times. They don’t nearly matter as much as you might think. Try researching what a ROSC rate is, or how CPAP has reduced the mortality of shortness of breath patients, particularly in Springfield. Ask Baystate Medical Center about the success of their ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction program (STEMI for short) and ask them how many of those patients are delivered by AMR.

    Still not convinced? Why not take a good hard look at other communities around the country and see for yourself how good you have it in Springfield. An ambulance is on scene in a preset amount of time or less 97% of the time. How do you think that compares to communities like Detroit, Washington DC, or Philadelphia just to name a few?

    Or how about closer to home? Ask around to some of the neighboring more rural communities and see what their response times are like. I guarantee that some will be longer than the average time publicized by AMR in WGGB’s article, but the patient outcomes will still be favorable.

    Just like with in-hospital medicine, perfection will never be obtained in prehospital medicine. Errors are going to happen because not only are the paramedics, EMTs and dispatchers human but so are the citizens that call 9-1-1. Mistakes get made. Addresses get entered wrong, and the severity of an emergency is not always reported properly.

    It is not the vehicle and the response that make for a successful EMS system; it is that person behind the wheel and the tech in back. It is the people. If you look at response times alone, you will find that AMR exceeds the expectations of the contract and have for a number of years. As a former paramedic and supervisor in the system, I encourage you to dig deeper. The successes that the paramedics and EMTs in Springfield have had after the arrival of the ambulance is what really indicates the level and quality of service that Springfield is getting. That is not always measured in numbers but if you dig deep enough you will find it.

    Hopefully all of this information will be provided for you on Tuesday, but if it is not just ask. The data is there, and the people who can provide it to you will be there as well. Don’t do a huge disservice to your constituents. There is no better company in the area to care for Springfield, and more importantly no one has the experience and the skill that the EMTs and paramedics in Springfield possess.”