The Knox County government has agreed to temporarily change their ambulance protocol in an effort to improve their response time to 911 calls.
At the request of Dr. Martha Buchanan, Sr. Director of the Knox County Health Department and Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Knox County and its ambulance service provider of record, Rural/Metro of Tennessee, L.P. has agreed to a 90-day operational change to the existing Ambulance Service Agreement.
The existing contract required an Advance Life Support (ALS) ambulance, which there is a limited number of, to respond to all 911 calls.
The temporary agreement will require ALS ambulances to respond to only the most severe cases, levels 1 and 2. Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances will respond to the less severe cases as determined by standard triage guidelines.
“The temporary amendments to the contract do not reflect issues with the service provider,” Mayor Jacobs said. “They are a result of ambulances being tied up due to the growing backlogs at all area ERs. With service demands likely to increase as flu season peaks in the coming weeks, this was a logical first step, and a very common one taken by other communities across the country, in easing the strain and keeping our residents safe and healthy.”
The temporary operational change will be reevaluated after 90 days.