HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County supervisors heard from American Medical Response Monday about ambulance performance and response times.
AMR's, Greg Doyle, told supervisors the company recently received its renewed accreditation after undergoing an extensive performance review.
He also answered questions from supervisors about a recent special report on WLOX by Doug Walker, which raised concerns about response time.
"It's not just that we're driving around in ambulances and responding to emergency calls, this is specific measurement that we're literally measurably making a difference in people's lives," Doyle told the board of supervisors.
One example, Doyle told supervisors, relates to surviving a heart attack. Nationally, if you go into cardiac arrest, your chance of survival is about 19 percent.
In Harrison County, the survival rate is nearly double that: 39 percent.
"Which is pretty phenomenal. That's almost twice the national average. And that goes to show the efficiency of not just everything we do operationally, but all of our relationships with the other agencies we respond with," said Doyle.
Supervisors asked questions about AMR's performance and response time; especially in light of a recent report by Doug Walker.
"You're talking about the recent story that WLOX did?" Doyle asked.
He defended AMR's overall record and said with tens of thousands of calls, there will be cases when they could have been better.
"We've had some very good response times and of course, like with any other agency and any other system, there's going to be times when you simply get out manned and out gunned and you run out of ambulances. And there's going to be times when people will wait. Thankfully, those aren't very often," said the AMR manager.
"I have no criticism of AMR's response times. None at all. It has gotten better recently even and it's very good," said Harrison County fire chief, Pat Sullivan.
Sullivan said emergency medical response, treatment and transport is a team effort and AMR is an integral part of that teamwork.
"The system we have in Harrison County is a very good system. AMR has been a very good partner with us, out there, doing what we're doing and it's working well," said Chief Sullivan.
Supervisors voted at Monday's meeting to extend AMR's contract with the county for one year. That short term extension will allow the new board of supervisors taking office in January, to decide next year on a possible longer contract for ambulance service.