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AMR Regional Director Terence Ramotar blamed a number of issues on the company’s response times: traffic, congestion, delays at hospitals and a region-wide paramedic shortage.
“Our focus has remained steadfast on serving the citizens of DeKalb County,” Ramator said. “We are extremely proud of the critical work the men and women of AMR do in partnership with DeKalb Fire Rescue, day in and day out. In a tough job such as this, good work and good outcomes often go unnoticed.”
The concerns with the company are long-standing, with county leaders trying to get AMR to do better, but it was an incident in Dunwoody in May that drew public outrage after a now-fired EMT was arrested for allegedly punching a handcuffed teen patient. Citing the attack and lax performance, Dunwoody officials voted to declare an EMS "crisis" in the city and appeal to the state of Georgia for help.
To ensure emergency service, the DeKalb County fire-rescue agency dispatches its own units initially to most medical calls because the county’s firefighters are all EMTs, and many are paramedics. The county has said the fire-rescue department’s average response time is 7.5 minutes, while, in April, AMR’s average was nearly 13 minutes.
AMR’s primary role is to provide emergency transport services, for which it bills patients, not the county.
AMR’s contract with DeKalb, which dates back to 2013, expires at the end of this year.
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In other news:
It's been a tough year for some DeKalb restaurants. Some lost water after a huge water main break and others lost power after Tropical Storm Irma.