CITY’S PRIVATE AMBULANCE CONTRACTOR TURNED DOWN 30-40% OF REQUESTED CALLS IN LEEWARD OAHU SAYS HONOLULU EMERGENCY SERVICES DEPARTMENT REPORT
Study in Response to City Council Resolution Finds Need for Second Private Ambulance Provider
News Release from Office of Councilmember Kym Pine December 17, 2013
A report released yesterday by the City & County of Honolulu’s Emergency Services Department (HESD) found that patient care and ambulance response times in Leeward Oahu could improve, and costs could decrease if the City obtained a second private ambulance service provider. From September – October 2013, the City’s current private ambulance contractor turned down 30-40% of requested calls for service in West Oahu.
“With only one City-run ambulance serving Leeward residents, we depend on the City’s private ambulance provider to provide dedicated services. Turning down 30-40% of requested calls puts our residents at a greater risk of death or prolonged injury and is unacceptable,” said Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine.
The subject of a second private ambulance service provider was initially raised in a City Council Resolution co-authored by Councilmembers Kymberly Marcos Pine and Ron Menor. Adopted by the Council in response to the deficiency of emergency services in West Oahu following the December 2012 closure of St. Francis Medical Center in Ewa Beach, the Resolution directed the HSED to evaluate the need for a second private ambulance service provider to provide back-up call services.
“After reviewing HESD’s report, I continue to welcome the entrance of a second private ambulance provider and believe that another private provider would increase patient access to care and improve service to Leeward residents,” Councilmember Pine added.
Seeking to fill this gap in coverage is Kokua Ambulance, LLC, a potential second private ambulance service provider, seeking State Health Planning & Development Agency approval for a Certificate of Need (CON) to operate a private ambulance service on Oahu. On December 10, 2013 the State agency held a public hearing on Kokua Ambulance’s CON application. The results from this study were not available during its hearing. An Agency decision on the CON application exists for a second private ambulance provider is expected on December 24, 2013.
According to the Resolution, the report was due to City Council and public on August 9, 2013. The report was delivered to the Council on December 16, 2013. Members of the public can view it online via the City’s Docushare System: http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-146379/8c_bzgp5.pdf
Councilmember Pine represents residents of District One (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae, Makaha, Keaau, Makua) and chairs the Intergovernmental Affairs and Human Services Committee.
SA: Council member wants second ambulance service provider