A4E Requests Audit of National EMS Response Times

In the name of transparency, we ask National EMS to release its full data from the 31,055 calls that exceeded the response time standard between 2014 and 2017. We are asking for an open audit of these calls, to include the nature of the 911 emergency, the zone in which these 911 calls originated and the location from which the ambulance responded. We also ask for a full accounting of all the 911 call types that National EMS routinely downgrades to Priority 2 (no lights and sirens).

For years, National EMS and both hospitals have refused to release their ambulance “911 Emergency Response” numbers. 911 emergency calls are a public service, even if provided by a private company. We believe National EMS has a responsibility to be transparent and should be held accountable when they fail to provide timely service.

We filed an open records request with the Georgia Department of Health that showed that National EMS is far from meeting its obligations as stated in its contract and in the national standards. According to these numbers, in the smallest county in the state of Georgia, National EMS only responded to 39 percent of 911 calls within the 8 minute and 59 second standard and did not meet the 90 percent of the time requirement until 18 minutes.

Now National EMS is saying that the numbers it provided to the Georgia Department of Public Health for “911 Emergency Responses” are misleading. National EMS Chief Operating Officer Benny Atkins stated in the Flagpole on June 27 that these numbers combine “high priority calls that are true emergencies, like heart attacks, with lower priority calls, such as transfers between hospitals.” The Georgia Department of Public Health labeled all the calls it provided in response to our open-records response as “911 Emergency Response.” Transfers between hospitals typically do not originate in the 911 system. We are asking that National EMS back up its claims with verifiable data and provide the complete data set.

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