RENO, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe) – Every 911 medical emergency in Clark County is handled by the Clark County Fire Department.
A private ambulance is also called to the location if it appears that someone may need to be hospitalized.
Ambulance crews have 12 minutes to arrive or they would be declared late. According to county officials, it is then that the fire department takes up their responsibilities, stretching already-scarce public resources.
Ambulance providers are out of compliance if they are late to more than 10% of calls each month, according to contractual requirements with Clark County that continue through 2026.
During a recent 17-month period, the two largest ambulance companies in Southern Nevada, AMR and MedicWest, both owned by Colorado-based Global Medical Response, only met the 90 percent on-time benchmark one and zero times, respectively, according to fire department Deputy Chief Jen Wyatt in a Nov. 15 presentation to county commissioners.
According to Wyatt, AMR averaged 85.2 and 85.6 percent in its two zones, whereas MedicWest reported rates of 76 and 83.3 percent in their respective territories.
According to numbers acquired, this has amounted to over $2 million in fines since November 2021.
“This is an emergency,” Commissioner Michael Naft said during the meeting. “There is no contract we have more significant than this one.”
Naft was part of a unanimous vote that supported a fire department plan to reorganize ambulance zones managed by the three businesses with county contracts.
Community Ambulance, a third firm, has not been out of compliance since February, when it received greater territory from the other companies under a November 2021 redistricting, Wyatt said.
AMR and MedicWest have contracts with the city of Las Vegas, and the latter is the exclusive operator in North Las Vegas. Community Ambulance provides non-emergency services to the city of Henderson. The municipalities did not furnish the needed performance statistics before the publishing deadline.
Redistricting: The new Clark County map, which goes into effect on Jan. 3, expands the local company’s influence on the Strip by adding a new zone with approximately 31,000 yearly calls.
Community Ambulance will handle 52 percent of total calls in Clark County, up from 17 percent prior to the 2021 redistricting.
AMR and MedicWest, which handled about 83 percent of all calls until February, argue redistricting isn’t the only solution to the ambulance industry’s overall staffing need.
Community Ambulance, on the other hand, is prepared for the extra workload, according to Glen Simpson, the company’s senior director.
“Every time we’ve taken on a large lift, a large project, we’ve heard it, that we can’t do it, mostly from our competitor,” Simpson said. “I go back to our track record; it speaks for itself.”
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