DeKalb Begins National Ambulance Provider Search

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond announced that the county has begun a national search to select an ambulance transport provider.

“DeKalb County has worked with our stakeholders to create an ambulance transport request for proposal that will better serve the needs of DeKalb citizens and residents,’” said CEO Thurmond. “The new proposal will improve patient care and countywide ambulance response times. The RFP also gives municipal leaders within DeKalb County the flexibility to enhance levels of service by creating designated service areas within their jurisdictions.”

The county hired a consultant to evaluate ambulance transport services and make recommendations for best practices for its emergency medical system. DeKalb County leaders also held public meetings with local elected officials, and heads of police and fire departments representing municipalities within the county to provide feedback on how to improve ambulance services in DeKalb County. Recommendations from both groups were included in the new proposal and highlights include:

  • Supplemental Service: The county will permit the creation of service areas with the option to purchase supplemental services for those municipalities or other portions of the county that desire additional service.

  • Dual Response System and Rapid Response Vehicles: All DeKalb County Fire Rescue (DFCR) sworn personnel are trained and certified EMT professionals that are dispatched to all emergency medical calls, and select non-emergency medical calls. In 2018, DCFR’s 90th percentile response time for high priority calls was 10 minutes and 59 seconds. DCFR will utilize 10 Rapid Response Vehicles to increase the ability to respond quickly to emergency calls.

  • Performance expectations and penalties: The selected ambulance transport provider will be required to respond to high priority calls within 11 minutes and 59 seconds, to the 90th percentile mark. The provider may incur penalties if they are not able to comply with response times and other performance measures.

DeKalb County has made significant improvements to ensure countywide coverage for all residents. In May 2018, the county reached an agreement with American Medical Response that resulted in additional investments that included $1.3 million in improved services, two additional ambulance units (one in Dunwoody and one in Stonecrest), and a cash payment of $596,000 to the county. Subsequently, the county entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city of Dunwoody that added two additional ambulances serving the northern corridor and designated response times.