Harrison County approves AMR proposal meant to reduce response times

Next, AMR will meet with Fire Chiefs from Harrison County and the cities.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - As of Monday, Harrison County supervisors have approved a proposal by AMR to help reduce response times.

Currently, AMR’s contract with the county requires Advance Life Support (ALS) ambulances with paramedics to respond to every 911 medical call, no matter the severity.

Under the new proposal, AMR would deploy Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances with EMTs to handle non-life-threatening calls.

“Only 20% of the 911 calls legitimately need an ALS ambulance, but right now, we’re having to send an ALS ambulance to 100% of those calls. When you think about it, 80% of those calls could be handled by a BLS ambulance,” said Steve Delahousey, a consultant for AMR. “We had a case where an ALS ambulance was tied up for several hours taking a patient, who is bedridden, to a dentist appointment. That’s an inappropriate utilization of resources. A BLS ambulance could’ve handled that just fine.”

County supervisors pointed to the national shortage of EMS workers and questioned AMR on how it plans to fill the extra ambulances. Delahousey argues the problem is finding paramedics, not EMTs.

“We have more basic EMTs waiting in the wings than we do paramedics,” he said. “We can hire basic EMTs to come on board and get this system implemented rather quickly.”

Next, AMR will meet with Harrison County and its cities’ fire chiefs to work out a full proposal. Then, the paperwork will be sent to the state for approval.

Delahousey hopes the new BLS ambulances will be deployed within a month.

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