Vermilion Parish Police Jury wants to improve Acadian Ambulance’s response time
The Police Jury wants to improve ambulance response times in Vermilion Parish.
The police jury has a contract with Acadian Ambulance to provide ambulances in the parish. Acadian agreed to meet designated response times 80 percent of the time. In the months of July and August, Acadian Ambulance has arrived on the scene within its required time 83 percent of the time in the 8 minute zone, 87 percent of the time in the 12 minute zone, both zones surpassed the 80 percent requirement.
In Kaplan, where the person almost died, Acadian Ambulance has a response time of 8 minutes, meaning the ambulance should have been at the location within 8 minutes after receiving the 911 phone call.
Police Juror Cloris Boudreaux, who is the juror in the Kaplan district, educated the jurors about the response time of Acadian Ambulance. It took them just over 20 minutes to be on the scene.
He said thanks to the parish’s first responders, the person’s heart was able to be restarted.
“I just wanted the police jury to be aware of it,” said Boudreaux at Wednesday’s committee meeting.
Police Juror Errol Domingues said the way the contract is written, Acadian Ambulance has to meet the response time in the parish 80 percent of the time or eight out of 10 calls.
Domingues suggested that the Police Jury look into doing away with reaching the response time 80 percent of the time and make Acadian Ambulance accountable 100 percent of the time.
Todd LaPorte, who is from Abbeville and works for Acadian Ambulance, was not at the police jury meeting on Wednesday. He had an explanation as to why it took the ambulance more than 20 minutes to arrive in Kaplan on Sept. 28.
LaPorte said within a 33 minute time span on Sept. 28, Acadian Ambulance had four emergency calls. At that time, there were ambulances available in Abbeville and Kaplan. The first emergency, in Maurice, came at 3:35 p.m. It was followed by another in Maurice at 3:38 pm. The third emergency, in Abbeville, was received at 3:56 pm. The fourth emergency, in Kaplan, came in at 4:08 p.m. All the ambulances in the parish were being used, so one had to be brought into the parish from Lafayette.
“As the number of calls above constituted an ‘unusual system overload,’ we were able to pull resources from other areas to respond to the calls as quickly as possible,” said LaPorte on Thursday. “We take these situations very seriously and continually evaluate and refine our operation and ambulance deployment procedures to ensure optimum service to our patients and the citizens of Vermilion Parish.”
During normal operations, Acadian Ambulance staffs the parish with three to five ambulances. The police jury ordinance that governs the Vermilion Parish operation mandates certain average response time percentages for normal operations within designated geographic zones. The ordinance further defines “unusual system overload” when more than three emergency call responses are occurring simultaneously within the parish.
LaPorte said on Sept. 28, it was an, “unusual system overload” because there were more than three emergency calls at once.
After a short discussion on how to get Acadian Ambulance to improve its response time, police jury attorney Paul Moresi III suggested creating a financial penalty in the contract to say that if Acadian Ambulance arrives at a location minutes past the compliance time zone, they would be fined.
Domingues said there is no incentive for Acadian Ambulance to put an extra ambulance in the parish.
He suggested the police jury fine Acadian Ambulance for every minute they are over the allotted time in the zone. In other words, if they respond 100 times in a month to Kaplan, which is an 8 minute time zone, and 85 percent of the time they get there within in 8 minutes. Domingues’ idea is to fine the ambulance company a dollar amount for every minute over the 8 minute mark.
“If you do not make it (time), it is all monetary,” said Domingues.