Ambulances Delayed Due to Hospital Bed Shortage

The number of hours LAFD ambulance crews are delayed has increased by almost 30 percent

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    RMG
    LAFD firefighter-paramedics at the scene of a hit-and-run Wednesday Nov. 27, 2013 in Sylmar.

    Hospital bed shortages delayed Los Angeles Fire Department ambulance crews nearly 37,000 hours last year, costing the city about $6 million, according to a report presented to the Fire Commission.

    Ambulance crews aim to spend no more than 20 minutes dropping patients off at hospitals, but often must wait longer due to a lack of beds, fire officials said.

    Danger of Shooters Prompts New Guidelines for Paramedics

    [LA] Danger of Shooters Prompts New Guidelines for Paramedics
    The LAX shooting has prompted new guidelines for paramedics when working in an active shooter situation. The new guidelines call for paramedics to move in with shields of law enforcement protection. Patrick Healy reports from downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2013. (Published Monday, Dec 23, 2013)

    The number of hours wasted in 2013 -- 36,627 -- is equivalent to parking four or more ambulances at one hospital every day, they said.

    LAFD Has 2 Months to Shape Up or Ship Out

    [LA] LAFD Has 2 Months to Shape Up or Ship Out Program
    The Los Angeles Fire Department has two months to shape up or ship out their interactive computer program that was designed to help with medical emergencies with which they are accused of not following protocol. Patrick Healy reports from downtown LA for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Mar 5, 2014)

    Often called "wall-time," the delays -- a common problem at many fire departments across the state -- prevent ambulances from responding to other 911 calls, according to a staff report.

    The Los Angeles Fire Department, which delivers patients to 57 hospitals throughout the region, has dealt with the issue with "various levels of success'' over the past decade, according to the report, but last year's figures indicated that overcrowding at hospitals has intensified.

    The number of hours ambulance crews were delayed went up almost 30 percent from 2012 to 2013, even as the number of ambulance transports and medical emergencies inched up by a little less than 2 percent.

    Officials estimate last year's delays -- based on a $165-an-hour rate for department ambulances -- cost the city $6 million.

    In recent months, the fire department has met with hospital officials in an effort reduce the delays. Fire officials are also part of a coalition, which includes the California EMS Authority and the California Hospital Association, that is working to come up with solutions.

    The coalition is expected to release in the coming months a "resource tool kit" to aid hospitals and ambulances in cutting wait times, fire officials said.

    Fire department staff also reported that they are working to reduce the number of "super-user" patients who request emergency medical services more than most.

    In 2013, 20 patients contacted the department a total of 2,049 times and were transported 1,375 times, fire officials said.

    Fire officials said they are exploring options such as staffing dispatch centers with nurses to help resolve medical issues over the phone, rather than by sending out ambulances.

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: iPhone/iPad App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts