|Updated: 8/23/2012 5:26 pm
||Published: 8/23/2012 5:25 pm
EMSA officials say they are looking into increasing response time standard starting in 2013.
The issue was discussed for the first time by its board of trustees in Wednesday’s regular board meeting.
The potential changes would increase response time to life-threatening emergencies from 8 minutes, 59 seconds to 10 minutes, 59 seconds. Non-life threatening emergencies would increase from 11 minutes, 59 seconds to 13 minutes, 59 seconds.
Officials say the recommended change would not affect first responders who are required to be on the scene within five minutes.
The change was discussed as part of the board’s review of an upcoming Request for Proposal which will be issued in November to solicit bidders for its emergency medical services contractor. EMSA contracts with and oversees a private contractor which staffs the organization with EMS and clinical personnel.
The change is proposed in response to a study issued this year by the OU Community School of Medicine and agreed upon by the Medical Control Board which oversees EMSA’s clinical care.
The RFP is scheduled for final discussion and vote by the board of trustees in its September board meeting. If the recommended change is made after consideration of the bids, the change would go into effect in November 2013.
Officials say there is no effect to a person’s health or death rate of an ambulance arriving in nine minutes, as they do now, or 11 minutes. Officials say that is true for trauma and medical patients.
EMSA says response times have been studied extensively over the last decade. The industry best practice is moving toward the extended response times in many areas.
They also report clinical outcomes or mortality rates, in relationship to response time, are most affected by patient care starting within the first five minutes. EMSA officials say this is 911 dispatchers give pre-arrival instructions and first responders are required to respond within the five minutes.
EMSA officials say the change is based solely on evidence-based clinical data and the recommended change will also allow for a safer driving response which is a critically important safety issue for EMS personnel and citizens.