An interesting article I picked up out of Williamston, South Carolina, says EMS squads are now in a position to face fines if they cross jurisdictional lines without being called by dispatch. Apparently there’s been a problem in this community where there are several different EMS services that provide care. People in neighboring towns who have a relationship with somebody in one of the other jurisdictions will call them to have that ambulance come pick them up and take them to the hospital.
EMS Ambulance Squirrels
This is a problem because when this happens that ambulance is no longer available to cover their own service area and puts dispatch in a situation of having to dispatch services from a further distance. The officials were tired of dealing with this so they enacted a law fining ambulance services who self dispatch to calls.
I never got the whole “let’s go squirreling on somebody else’s call” mentality. We have some of that here in my volunteer area. We know a certain district is slow getting out on a call so somebody will think they can get out and take that call. This may be for financial reasons or just to run more calls while showing up the neighboring service but it’s ultimately counter-productive.
Patient Care and Service First
I can completely understand why this Williamston, South Carolina went ahead and said “no” to this practice. They are going to start fining guys they don’t stay in station until called. This makes perfect sense to me and it’s a little disappointing that clearly patient care is not coming first based on what I see here. You can’t just say Jim Bob’s uncle needs trip to the hospital so let’s take him because Jim Bob’s our friend. Jim Bob’s uncle should call 911 like anyone else. Then the closest ambulance will be dispatched to Jim Bob’s uncle keeping services covering the areas they’re supposed to cover. I hope that this type of thing doesn’t crop up in other places, unless of course they’re levying fines. Then I completely and heartily approve.
Check out the links and full episode video and audio for this week’s episode – West Nile Virus Treatment and Episode 299.