Beauregard ordinance aims at ambulance response times

<p class="p1">The response times of ambulance providers is a major focus behind a proposed revision to an ordinance by the Beauregard Parish Police Jury.</p><p class="p1">A workshop on the proposed ordinance is set for next month, after officials met last week to discuss potential expectations for the response times in areas outside DeRidder’s city limits.</p><p class="p1">According to information provided by the jury’s legislative committee, ambulance response times within DeRidder’s limits average eight minutes. For areas greater than 15 miles from DeRidder, that response time rises to an average of 30 minutes or more.</p><p class="p1">That wait time, juror Mike Harper said, needs to be addressed.</p><p class="p1">“When we’re talking about a life-or-death situation, waiting longer than a half an hour for an ambulance is just not acceptable,” Harper said.</p><p class="p1">The parish’s present ordinance requires ambulance providers such as Acadian Ambulance to respond to 80 percent of calls outside of the 15-mile radius in 30 minutes or less. Failure to meet that 80 percent would cause the provider to incur a $1,000 fine from the parish.</p><p class="p1">The new proposed ordinance would keep with that 80 percent expectation, but would also call for a case-by-case review of each call that was not met within the 30 minute timeframe, and could bring about another $1,000 fine for that call alone.</p><p class="p1">Acadian Ambulance spokesperson Paul Fuselier met with jurors last week about the proposed ordinance revision, and said that expectations to reduce that call time below 30 minutes could be too high when considering the geographical area of Beauregard Parish.</p><p class="p1">“I don’t know if any ambulance provider can meet that response time,” Fuselier said.</p><p class="p1">In order to make a higher percentage of 30 minute or less response times to the furthest ends of the parish, such as the Longville area, Fuselier said that might require an adjustment of resources. That, he said, would require more communication from the parish.</p><p class="p1">“You know your area better than we do. If I move a resource to the south side of the parish, in order to realize some of this, then we’re going to have to come to you guys for information. What roads are best to get from Point A to Point B, those are things that you guys know best,” Fuselier said.</p><p class="p1">Other concerns for the ordinance was the permit issuance process. While the police jury has been responsible in the past for issuing operating permits to ambulance providers, that seems to have stopped in recent years. Fuselier said Acadian Ambulance had continued to pay the required $1,000 fee for the permit each year despite the confusion of its issuance.</p><p class="p1">Juror Carlos Archield said he believes next month’s workshop was the best step to take in an effort to avoid “rushing” an ordinance and would allow all jurors to be made aware of the parish’s permit responsibilities.</p>””Ambulance Response TimesAmerican Press composite

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