Hospital not under county contract

Published 9:42 pm Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Though the county-wide ambulance contract was awarded to Care Ambulance last week, there is another aspect of ambulance service that doesn’t fall under the bid — transfers.

The majority of the local hospital’s need for ambulance service comes from transfers, said Troy Regional Medical Center’s Chief Clinical Officer Jennifer Ventress.

“Most of our business is two-fold,” Ventress said. “One is transfers from our facility to another facility, and the second is transport from our facility to a long-term care facility or the patient’s residence.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And in those instances, Ventress said the contracted service is not necessarily called upon.

“We are going to use the patient first and ask … their choice,” Ventress said. “If they choose an ambulance service that can service us rapidly, then we will use the patient’s choice.”

Ventress said the hospital is supportive of the county’s contract, but the staff have had issues with timeliness in the past.

“As far as the 911 calls, the hospital is going to receive patients from that service and support the county and city with whomever they awarded the contract to,” Ventress said.

Ventress said if the ambulance service a patient chooses isn’t available with advanced life support service, then another would be called.

“We will call whichever one of the two services that can serve us the quickest, provided they (can) provide the level of care we need for that patient in the transport,” Ventress said.

Ventress said patients may need transfers for heart problems, neurological strokes or trauma situations, which require care from a more advanced facility.

But, the hospital, as well as the local nursing home, also calls for non-emergency transfers, such as taking a patient back to his or her home, which aren’t as timely.

“My priority is to make sure emergency transfers are met,” Ventress said. “That’s where I’ve had my problems in timeliness. (But) the hospital is going to support the city and county as far as an ambulance provider, and we’re going to make the best decision for our patients.”

Representatives of both local ambulance services said they are committed to assisting Troy Regional Medical Center.

“Our plan is to meet the commitment of the 911 and the needs of both the hospital and the nursing home, whether they be emergency or non-emergency,” said Care Ambulance Operations Manager Mike Sandell.

Sandell said it is his goal to work closely with the hospital to ensure its needs are met in a timely fashion, despite any instances that may have occurred in the past.

By scheduling non-emergency transfers in advance, Sandell said the service should be able to address needs more efficiently.

“I think as long as we all work together for the common goal of good patient care, I don’t think we will have very many issues we should encounter,” Sandell said.

And though not under the county contract, Haynes representatives said their company will also work to meet any needs they are called to address.

“We have a good working relationship with the hospital, and we’re going to continue to serve them like we have in the past and provide the best service we can,” said Haynes Chief Operating Officer Kirk Barrett. “Anytime we get a call, whether it be emergency or non emergency, we’re going to send an ambulance as soon as they call and provide whatever service they need.”

Ventress said having more ambulances in Pike County, now with two services, will hopefully enhance service, and she said she believes the need is great enough for multiple services to survive locally.