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Ambulance Response Times. Tim Meyer, Director North Dakota Department of Health Division of EMS and Trauma December 2, 2008. North Dakota Ambulance Services. 139 ground ambulance services 120 BLS, 19 ALS 5 air ambulance services ALS services do 72% of all calls in ND.

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Ambulance response times l.jpg

Ambulance Response Times

Tim Meyer, Director

North Dakota Department of Health

Division of EMS and Trauma

December 2, 2008


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North Dakota Ambulance Services

  • 139 ground ambulance services

    • 120 BLS, 19 ALS

  • 5 air ambulance services

  • ALS services do 72% of all calls in ND.

  • Over 3,400 EMS workers in ND

    • 88% are volunteers

  • Average age is 42; 17% are over 65


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What Are the Costs of EMS?

  • It costs between $250,000 and $300,000 per year for each ambulance service (estimated at $40m to $50m per year statewide).

    • Labor.

    • Vehicle expenses; depreciation, fuel, maintenance.

    • Medical supplies.

    • Personnel training.

    • Building/facilities.


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Who Pays for EMS?

$2.8m in local taxes on behalf of EMS.

$1.25m state staffing grant (625k per year).

$1.24m state training grant (620k per year).

Volunteer labor (est. $17m to $21m per year).

Third party payors: Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc. (est. $23m to $33m per year).


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Data Collection

Data regarding each ambulance call must be submitted to the Department (NDAC 33-11-01.2-10(5)).

Web-based system called SOAR (Statewide Online Ambulance Reporting).

Our dataset matches national requirements.

In 2007 we received data from over 57,000 ambulance calls.


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Response Time Data

  • We collect the following times:

    • 911 call time.

    • Time notified by dispatch.

    • Time enroute.

    • Arrive scene time.

    • Depart scene time.

    • Arrive at facility time.

    • Time available for next call.

    • Time back in quarters.


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Response Times Data Problems

  • Subjective – self reporting.

  • Probable errors:

    • Frontier counties have an average response time of over 55 minutes (DOT FY 2007).

    • Multiple entries of over 1.5 days.

    • Not uniformly using a 3rd party (dispatch) to record times.

  • Services are not reporting all calls to us.

    • Cancelled runs, no transports, stand-bys, DOA, etc.


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Who Cares?

  • National push for public reporting of health quality data:

    • Health plans - 1998

    • End stage renal disease facilities - 2001

    • Nursing homes - 2002

    • Home health - 2003

    • Hospitals - April 2005

    • Clinics – forthcoming

    • EMS – within next 5 years


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Quality and Pay for Performance

  • 2005 – 2007 hospital Medicare payment updates (periodic increases) tied to quality; “Pay for Performance”.

  • Ambulance services will be reimbursed in this manner in the future.

    • Response times will be a quality indicator for ambulance services.

    • 2007 Legislature requires us to establish response time standards for ambulance services.


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What if We Do Nothing?

Aging workforce will eventually = less volunteers.

Failing to meet basic quality indicators will = less payment to ambulance services.

Less funds will = less ambulance services.

Less ambulance services will = longer response times for the public and more burden on remaining ambulance services.


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Our Plan

  • Encourage EMS system development.

  • Improve the quality of the EMS delivery system.

    • Assist ambulance services in establishing their own quality assurance processes.

    • Monitor patient care benchmarks.

    • Establish response time standards.

      • Educate EMS providers to improve communications with dispatch.

  • Give the public the best possible emergency care.


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What can PSAPs do?

  • PSAPs are the gate keeper of response time data – Objective Third Party.

  • Is it possible to get an export file on a monthly basis?

    • 911 call time, time notified by dispatch, time enroute, arrive scene time, depart scene time, arrive at facility time, time available for next call, and time back in quarters.


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Continued

The Health Department would do all QA activity.

We will work to improve the communications of EMS agencies.


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Questions????

Tim Meyer, Director

Division of EMS and Trauma

North Dakota Dept. of Health

600 E. Blvd. Ave., Dept. 301

Bismarck, ND 58505-0200

701-328-2388

[email protected]

ndhealth.gov/ems

Lindsey Narloch, Research Analyst

Division of EMS and Trauma

North Dakota Dept. of Health

600 E. Blvd. Ave., Dept. 301

Bismarck, ND 58505-0200

701-328-2388

[email protected]

ndhealth.gov/ems


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