The North Alabama emergency medical service could face a $5,000 fine for response times

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – The Decatur Morgan Ambulance Service (EMS) faces a potential fine for failing to meet the city’s response time requirements.

The omission is stated for the jurisdiction of Decatur Police and the incidents in question occurred in the last quarter of 2022. The possibility of a fine arose after the council meeting this month, which analyzed response times in this particular area.

City ordinance requires that 90% of the emergencies in this jurisdiction have a response time of 13 minutes or less during any quarter. EMS occurred in 79% of calls to the police in October, 88% in November and only 64% in December.

“With [a] With the huge psychiatric population we currently have, we go to great lengths when transporting psychiatric patients,” said Carrie Wynn, EMS service line director. “We drive as far south as southeast Alabama, so you can’t always predict when those calls are going to come in.”

“So with police jurisdiction that’s a little further out of town that we need to go to,” Wynn continued. “Your best plans or your predictions of where you need to be don’t always help you when you get the call that there’s no truck close enough.”

“The biggest problem with meeting response times is call predictability,” Wynn said.

Violating the response time requirement in any quarter will result in a $5,000 fine and five points on a scale that measures performance.

While the numbers are a poor reflection of requirements, the city says EMS has made significant improvements in less than a year of operation.

“Collaboration between the fire and emergency services has increased dramatically,” said Decatur City Attorney Chip Alexander. “I hear good things from the fire service, the best I can say about the EMS now is that up here I don’t hear about it like I used to.”

“I think the level of service has increased and whether or not they’re making time for this quarter,” he continued. “I don’t think that will change, I think they will correct it and the service we get from them is very good and something the city can be proud of.”

A bright spot for EMS – they are meeting all performance targets within Decatur city limits. The official determination of the response time check will be made on February 14th.