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Ambulance exec: Fire chief’s policy endangering lives

Reported by: Vicki Gonzalez
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Updated: 4/29/2014 11:43 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV — The head of the private paramedic and ambulance service in Las Vegas says a recent change in the city’s emergency dispatch policy is endangering lives.

Scott White, general manager of American Medical Response, says a decision by William McDonald, chief of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, is having serious consequences on public health and safety.

The fire chief, without City Council approval, decided to assign more emergency calls to Fire Department units instead of to the ambulance company. The Fire Department operates the dispatch center that relays calls for emergency services.

It's been nearly two months since Las Vegas Fire & Rescue decided to take on more ambulance transfers, forcing private contractor American Medical Response to take a back seat.

This decision has been a concern from the beginning, with warnings from AMR that response times and patient transfers would suffer.

American Medical Response has come forward exclusively to News 3 with troubling statistics.

The city's dispatch center stopped sending ambulances from AMR on March 3; and Las Vegas Fire and Rescue is responding to all incidents. The goal for the city is to increase their share of patient transfers from 30 to 75 percent. This change that could reportedly bring $12 million to $14 million dollars in revenue.

According to numbers provided by AMR, in the nearly two months since Las Vegas Fire & Rescue began taking on more patient transfer ambulance volume, delays have skyrocketed, increasing nearly seven fold, from 29 to the month before the policy change to 199 delayed response times in the month following. 

News 3 has contacted Las Vegas Fire & Rescue about these allegations and is expecting to hear a response soon.

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