Seattle ambulance contractor pays $1.4 million in fines

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SEATTLE, AP — The Seattle Fire Department’s private paramedic paid nearly $1.4 million last year for violating the terms of his contract with Seattle and showing up late for calls.

American Medical Response contracts with Seattle to provide basic ambulance services and transport patients with low acuity. Under the contract, AMR has target response times that they must meet at least 90% of the time to avoid paying fines.

The first AMR ambulance should arrive in less than 11.5 minutes. Last year, AMR ambulances arrived late about 20% of the time, according to records KUOW obtained from the Seattle Fire Department. Many ambulances were a few minutes late. A few took an hour or more to show up.

In a statement, an AMR spokesperson said the longer response times are due to staffing shortages and long emergency room wait times.

“During these waits for a hospital bed, which can range from 40 minutes to four hours, paramedics continue to provide high-quality care to patients, either in the ambulance or in the reception areas of the emergency department. emergencies,” the statement said. “However, ambulances held in local emergency rooms with patients cannot respond to other 911 calls.”

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Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins was unavailable for an interview.

In a statement, department spokeswoman Kristin Tinsley said, “Chief Scoggins recognizes that there is a greater challenge with the broader health care system to transport and bring patients to the emergency room. He hopes that AMR can meet its contractual obligations so that the SFD units can remain available for the next intervention.

She said AMR’s failure to meet its obligations “keeps our units on site longer and presents a challenge for SFD to provide the best customer service to the patients we treat.”

The company’s performance hasn’t improved much in the first part of 2022. AMR has racked up nearly $500,000 in fines as of May 1. The money goes into the general fund of the city of Seattle.

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