ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There are too many medial calls in the city of Albuquerque and not nearly enough paramedics or trucks to handle them. Now, Albuquerque Fire Rescue is asking the state public regulation commission to change the rules so they can help patients.
“We’ve had a significant increase in calls in 5 years, last year ran 90,000 medical calls 110 total calls system here in the City of Albuquerque… it’s just really busy right now,” said Deputy Chief Emily Jaramillo with AFR Emergency Services.
Last year AFR was the twenty-sixth busiest fire department in the country and that’s not per capita. AFR has been working to come up with creative ways to reduce call volume but they’re still overwhelmed.
Now they’re asking the PRC to grant them the ability to transport any patient they choose to the hospital.
Both AFR and Albuquerque Ambulance currently respond to all medical calls. While AFR paramedics and firefighters take care of patient care, Albuquerque Ambulance has the city contract to actually take patients to the hospital. However, AFR takes the patient if it’s a critical incident that can’t wait, a city employee or if Albuquerque Ambulance doesn’t have enough staff.
According to a city council document, in 2017 Albuquerque Ambulance was unable to respond to 2,388 calls and have been unable to meet required response times for the last four years. AFR is hoping if they are granted the full authority to transport patients, they can possibly divide up the calls with Albuquerque Ambulance.
“There is a lot of redundancy in our system and we would like to do what other cities are doing to be creative in the resources we have and how to distribute those,” said Jaramillo.
Albuquerque Ambulance and its parent company Presbyterian Health Services are fighting the move. When asked why they said “AAS transports nearly 99 percent of patients who require emergency medical services in the metro area. As such, we believe an additional certificate of authority for emergency transport is unnecessary and remains committed to the cooperative emergency response that we already deliver alongside Albuquerque Fire Rescue.”
There is money at stake. When either Albuquerque Ambulance or AFR Transports, they do charge for that service.
Full Statement from Albuquerque Ambulance Service:
“For more than 47 years, Albuquerque Ambulance Service (AAS) has proudly served the city by providing emergency medical care and transportation to local residents. Our dedicated team responds to more than 100,000 calls each year, and provides quality care to stabilize and transport patients to area hospitals. Today, AAS transports nearly 99 percent of patients who require emergency medical services in the metro area. As such, we believe an additional certificate of authority for emergency transport is unnecessary and remain committed to the cooperative emergency response that we already deliver alongside Albuquerque Fire Rescue (AFR). We value our continued partnership with AFR to meet the needs of the community we jointly serve, including the expansion of services like Basic Life Support rescue. “Scott Kasper, chief, Albuquerque Ambulance Service