WTOP is reporting that Washington DC Fire & EMS (FEMS) has contracted with American Medical Response (AMR) to provide 9-1-1 service in Washington DC. This move is part of an approved plan that would off load low priority call volume from FEMS municipal units to private units. The hope is that this will free up the municipal units for quicker response times to higher priority calls.
From the article:
A spokesman for D.C. Fire and EMS says it will start using private ambulances next month.
The temporary contract begins in 30 days with American Medical Response.
Employment postings on AMR’s website show the emergency response organization is now hiring EMTs for “DC 911 EMS operations.”
The positions that pay $20.41 an hour are for employees responding to both emergency and nonemergency calls in the District.
The use of a private ambulance company to respond to 9-1-1 emergencies where a municipal agency operates is not unheard of.
In New York City the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) EMS units are supplemented by units known as VoluntARY ambulances (not volunteer). These units are equipped and assigned New York City 9-1-1 calls the same as the municipal units. Eight of the participating hospitals subcontract the 9-1-1 ambulance service to private companies, SeniorCare and TransCare, who actually operate the units in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. Private companies have operated in the New York City 9-1-1 system since February of 2000.
The city of San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) has also found themselves calling private ambulances in to help cover to reduce response time during peak periods of call volume, although this is not a standing arrangement and contract status is unknown.
The Washington DC contract with AMR is currently temporary for at least one year, but may be expanded depending on the results.