Thursday, July 9, 2015

County asks Rural/Metro to explain potential 'service related issues'

Knox County has asked its ambulance provider Rural/Metro to explain why a number of "potential indicators of service-related issues" have occurred.

In a letter, dated July 1, Knox County Purchasing Director Hugh Holt asks for a  “written explanation and an action plan to remedy these performance related issues.”

The letter, county officials say, is a  "proactive effort to identify potential issues that could develop into problems that impact public safety."

MORE: Contract, compliance reports and Letter from Holt

Officials said they were concerned about the company's local staffing levels, and "its seemingly frequent use of mutual aid and an early assessment of June 2015 performance numbers that indicate Rural Metro’s response times may not meet contractual obligations."

The county’s contract with Rural/Metro allows the company to use mutual aid agreements in responding to calls when necessary, and also requires that, at least 90 percent of the time, a first responder arrives on-scene within 10 minutes of a call for emergency medical service.

The early assessment of June’s response data may indicate a 10-minute-or-less response time of just under 90 percent, which could trigger fines for Rural/Metro.

That's why, county leaders say, they asked the company to explain it's "frequent use of mutual aid and what appear to be below-benchmark response times."

“When someone calls 911 for a medical emergency, they deserve to know they’ll receive an appropriate response, which is why Knox County is doing its due diligence. It’s our duty to ensure public safety,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “A primary reason we have a contract for this sort of service is to ensure performance and maintain accountability.”

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