The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last night to approve a franchise agreement with American Medical Response to begin providing emergency 9-1-1 medical transportation services to the county on August 1, 2023.
The vote gives the final go ahead for the company that already provides ambulance services in Multnomah and Clackamas Counties to begin also serving Washington County.
“This has been a long time coming and I am thankful for the hard work of the county EMS team as well as the EMS stakeholders who have dedicated a lot of time and effort to make this happen,” said Adrienne Donner who supervises the county EMS program. “We have needed to upgrade our ambulance franchise agreement for many years to modernize our 9-1-1 emergency system in order to provide the best possible service to our community.”
The new franchise agreement with AMR replaces an agreement with Metro West that was more than 20 years old and did not provide the flexibility to make necessary changes to the system. These changes include:
- Improved dispatch system—9-1-1 operators will be able to see where ambulances are located and dispatch the ambulance closest to the scene.
- New quality metrics— will track clinical metrics as well as response time.
- New data sharing system—AMR will be part of the new computerized data sharing system with fire departments and the 9-1-1 call center, so county EMS staff and EMS partners can monitor quality and see emerging call patterns.
AMR was chosen as the new county ambulance provider in February after a competitive process and a nationwide search. An expert review panel of 10 people, representing the county and EMS partners, reviewed the applications in detail and interviewed each company, choosing AMR as the clear leader.
Since then, the county has been working with emergency medical partners, including fire, police, 9-1-1 operators, hospitals, Metro West and AMR to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
AMR has already hired 117 out of the 126 paramedics and emergency medical technicians needed to provide services in Washington County. The county requires at least one paramedic and one emergency medical technician per ambulance for calls that require advanced life support skills and two EMT’s for calls that require basic life support skills. The company has purchased 30 new ambulances and has leased a facility in Aloha for its main center of operations.
“We are thrilled to bring our expertise and passion for health care to the communities of Washington County starting August 1. We are committed to delivering the best possible care to our customers,” said Jennifer Romero, AMR operations manager.
Metro West will continue to provide non-emergency medical transport services in the county, which includes transporting patients from home to medical appointments and providing transportation between hospitals and medical facilities.