A brand-new ambulance service for Washington County

A brand-new ambulance service for Washington County



Beginning in August, Washington County will be receiving emergency service from American Medical Response after Metro Wests’ 20 years of service.

This comes after a unanimous vote by the Washington County Board of Commissioners in June to approve a new agreement with AMR.

The agreement, in a 5-year agreement with possible two 3-year extensions adding up to 11 years total. Emergency medical services leaders say it was time for a modern upgrade.

For example, improved dispatch system. 9-1-1 operators will be able to see where ambulances are located and dispatch the ambulance closest to the scene; new quality metrics that will track clinical metrics as well as response time; new data sharing system, AMR will be part of the new computerized data sharing system with fire departments and the 9-1-1 call center, so county EMS staff and EMS partners can monitor quality and see emerging call patterns.

While operations are running smooth, Vice President of Operations AMR, Randy Lauer says for at least the past year, staffing has been AMR’s biggest hurdle. Washington County is close to being fully staffed after hiring from Metro West and from out of state. But other counties still need help.

Clark County is currently short-staffed 14% of the 61 paramedic positions needed and 16% of the 79 EMT positions needed. Clackamas County is currently short-staffed by 10% of the 48 paramedics needed and 9.5% of the needed 42 EMT positions needed. And Multnomah County is currently short-staffed by 14% of the needed 275 paramedic positions.

AMR says they’re confident to those gaps smaller by the end of the year. Lauer says there is a temporary fix by using a staffing model Clackamas, Clark and Washington Counties already use. He says he needs approval from the Medical Director and County Commissioner Gonzalez.

“We could solve the Multnomah County problem I think within 30 days,” says Lauer. “That’s the conversation we’re having with Multnomah County hopefully get some traction and get the right people to recognize it is a crisis in Multnomah County more than anywhere else, and there’s a solution available. I’d like to be given permission to solve Multnomah county because we can do it so quickly if we can just get temporary paramedic EMT staffing.”

Washington County requires at least one paramedic and one emergency medical technician per ambulance for calls that require advanced life support skills and two EMT’s for calls that require basic life support skills. The company has purchased 30 new ambulances and has leased a facility in Aloha for its main center of operations.

Metro West will continue to provide non-emergency medical transport services in the county, which includes transporting patients from home to medical appointments and providing transportation between hospitals and medical facilities


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