‘A customizable solution’

Allen County Commissioners want AMR as their ambulance service provider. What does that mean? A representative of the company responds.

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August 26, 2021 - 9:53 AM

Jason Jenkins, AMR Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

Allen County has selected American Medical Response (AMR) to be its new ambulance provider. But what all does that mean?

To learn more, the Register spoke with Jason Jenkins, regional representative for the company.

What factors precipitated the switch to AMR?

According to Jenkins, “[his] takeaway is that Allen County wants to be able to develop policies and operating guidelines that would determine how many ambulances remain available to conduct transfers, and that sort of thing, from the hospital.”

“They want to be able to have some more say in that,” Jenkins explained, “and with AMR we are a completely customizable solution for the county. So they can pretty much dictate those provisions of what the ambulances will be doing from an availability perspective and we would comply with that.”

“The second thing that was a pinch-point,” Jenkins continued, “was keeping ambulances available during an active/working fire.” 

“In this particular circumstance, AMR is going to respond to 911 calls, conduct transfers, and if there’s an active/working fire, we would have an ambulance on-scene as requested by the fire department, if they needed an ambulance to respond.”

Jenkins also added that, “in other systems, we’ll have an ambulance at a fire to make sure firefighters are doing okay while fighting the fire, conducting some rehab for them,” as well as providing services for fire victims.

There were also financial considerations behind the switch, Jenkins said.

“AMR, with it as big as the organization is, has some purchasing power,” he said, “with equipment and ambulances and that sort of thing, where I think the county really has an interest in decreasing the amount they’re spending … and where we would be able to cost-share with them on those larger capital expenses that they have.”

Jenkins estimated that AMR currently has about 30,000 employees and 7,800 ambulances on the road across the U.S.

Hence “we do just have some more breadth or bandwidth essentially than maybe what the City of Iola did to provide service,” he said.

What will happen to local EMS workers’ jobs?

According to Jenkins, “the intent of the county is to make sure that there’s a preference provided to those — who are qualified and meet the AMR conditions — to hire those residents in Allen County as a priority.”

“We have that, essentially, in other contracts across the U.S.,” he added, “most close to home would be in Linn County.”

“We want the local expertise,” Jenkins continued. “We don’t have paramedics and EMTs in a closet at our corporate headquarters that we’re going to fly into Allen County.”

“If they meet the conditions … and are qualified as an EMT or paramedic, we are very much interested in hiring them.”

Jenkins therefore averred that “[he thinks residents] are going to recognize many of the faces of folks that are taking care of them.”

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