“Subcontracted Forensic Transport” helps AMR reduce ambulance response times by transporting bodies

AMR said since the transport service began, the rate of on-time ambulances has increased from about 70% to the mid-80%.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — American Medical Response said ambulance response times have improved after subcontracting a service to transport bodies.

The company said the service responds to calls involving a body that do not require an ambulance. It takes the bodies to the Knox County Medical Examiner – taking over a service that was previously the responsibility of AMR.

“This leaves ambulances available for other, more urgent patients,” said Joshua Spencer, regional director for AMR. “We saw an overall improvement from the 60% to 70% range all the way up to the mid-range of 80%.”

He said ambulances have more time to respond to emergency and 911 calls because the subcontractor responds to non-emergency calls. According to AMR, the company picks up about 120 bodies each month and a new contract requires them to respond to calls within 45 minutes.

On Monday, AMR leaders met with Knox County commissioners and presented the first quarterly update of the year. The updates are intended to improve accountability in the emergency medical services system. They said AMR is hiring more field staff and more than 200 people are on the team as paramedics or paramedics.

“I think we’re making a lot of progress in the first 90 days,” Spencer said. “More people on the team means more ambulances in the community.”

About six months ago, AMR said it had about 180 paramedics and paramedics on staff.

Despite the new contract, increased hiring and subcontracted transportation services, one neighbor said no help came after he called 911.

“My son could have died,” said Mitchell Bennet, who had to call 911 for his son. “I ended up transporting my son to the hospital.”

AMR’s next update to the Knox County Commission is expected to occur in August.