Congratulations to the board of the Mississippi Ambulance Alliance on the publication of their insightful op-ed in the Clarion Ledger.
“Response Times” are the loudest complaint, both locally and around the country — regardless of whether a private or public ambulance is responding. Everyone is, understandably, mad the ambulance isn’t right here, right now. And in many if not most instances, the ambulance providers agree — they want to be on scene sooner.
But that system is showing its fragility everywhere.
Don’t miss the fantastic member-written editorial, Save lives, not seconds, in Wednesday’s Boston Globe. Submitted by Cataldo Ambulance’s Tom Kimball, it gets to the heart of many issues with using response times as the only performance metric. (Emphasis below is ours.)
Many cities and towns in Massachusetts still judge the performance of their ambulance services using metrics like response times, which can miss the point. An additional two minutes waiting for an ambulance will rarely make a difference for a trauma patient facing emergency surgery that may take hours.
Patient outcome is a more valuable measure of whether a medical service is doing right by people. In many areas of health care these days, it is the gold standard, a key factor in determining how much insurance companies pay service providers. Changing the terms of ambulance companies’ contracts to make good patient outcomes the goal could greatly improve the quality of medical care across the state — and save lives.