THE POST-SIGNAL / Steve Bandy
Michael Burney, left, regional vice president, Acadian Ambulance, and Mark Majors, CEO of MedExpress Ambulance Service, review a proposed regulatory ordinance with members of the police jury’s Ambulance Committee Tuesday night.
Amublance ordinance again tweaked
Acadia’s ambulance ordinance will undergo another tweak before it is presented to the full police jury for consideration.
In what parish attorney Glen Howie called “a very productive meeting,” members of the police jury’s Ambulance Committee met with officials from the two services permitted to operate in Acadia Tuesday night.
Michael A. Burney, regional vice president of Acadian Ambulance, and Mark Majors, CEO of MedExpress Ambulance Service, each presented a number of “recommended changes” to the ordinance presented to the committee earlier this month.
The two companies agreed on most points and members of the committee took heed of those recommendations and authorized Howie to incorporate them into yet another iteration of the document.
One sticking point appeared to be the designation of response zones.
Though neither service would commit as to exactly where they will station ambulances, it appears that not all of the “population” areas in the parish will house ambulances.
In the proposal, Zone 1 — in which the required response time is less than 9 minutes — is defined as “incorporated areas where an ambulance is ‘normally’ stationed.”
According to Burney, “Zones should be defined by specific area and not where a provider subjectively decides to put an ambulance. A provider could argue that it has no Zone 1 because it rotates its ambulances daily and does not ‘normally’ station them anywhere.”
The argument was made that, for example, if Acadian gets an emergency call in the regular rotation for Iota and the nearest truck is in Crowley, it’s not going to get there in 9 minutes. Similarly, in MedExpress gets a rotation call for Rayne and the nearest truck is in Crowley, it’s probably going to be late.
Both services agreed that they would simply “hand off” the call to the other in situations like that.
The ordinance provided fines for the providers if they are not “on time” at least 80 percent of the time.
“This is the most difficult thing we have to do, determine the zones,” Howie said.
Majors pointed out that St. Landry, “which has multiple providers,” has no response zones “and it’s insanely better.”
“I don’t think it’s better in St. Landry,” he said. “While we’re bouncing around trying to find out who’s the closest we’re losing response time.”
On a somewhat related subject, it was decided that “only ‘lights and sirens’ calls as prescribed by nationally recognized emergency response protocols” would be held to the response time mandates.
“Every time we turn on those lights and sirens, the public is at risk,” Majors explained.
Howie said he would take all of the recommendations approved by the committee and incorporate them into another draft of the proposed ordinance which will be presented once again to the committee for consideration.
For an ordinance to be enacted, it must be first introduced by the full jury during open meeting. A public hearing on the proposal must then be held before it can be considered for final adoption.