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County not nitpicking performance rules of ambulance contract

Oct 13, 2016 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

Guardian says it's well within requirements

When the Fremont County Commission signed an agreement with Guardian EMS to have the private company take over local ambulance services, the contract contained one performance stipulation: Guardian would need to respond to at least 80 percent of calls in under 20 minutes.

For each additional 1 percent of calls to which Guardian responds in more than 20 minutes, Guardian agreed to pay a $1,000 fine each month.

If Guardian's performance became extremely poor, with less than 70 percent of response times under 20 minutes, then the fine rate against Guardian would increase progressively.

So far, however, the county has not actively monitored whether the performance benchmark is being met since Guardian took over July 1.

'Well under that'

Regardless, Matt Strauss, Guardian's regional supervisor, told The Ranger that his company has been meeting the benchmark easily.

"We're well under that," he said. "It's not even close."

Strauss said he would be happy to provide evidence of Guardian's achievements to commissioners.

He does provide monthly updates to the county board on Guardian's performance. The report includes information about response times.

During its first three months in Fremont County, Strauss said Guardian achieved a median response time of 10 minutes; the 90th percentile response time was 25.7 minutes.

Data

Wyoming Department of Health EMS manager Andy Gienapp says such raw data should be scrubbed for inconsistencies and errors.

The state's analysis of Guardian's first month of data found that only 76 percent of calls had a response time of less than 20 minutes. The results were based on the time that elapsed between a call being made to dispatch and a crew arriving on scene.

Gienapp added that, unlike many EMS privatization contracts, Fremont County's doesn't explicitly define what constitutes a "response time."

Aging ambulance

In a report given Tuesday, Strauss said that Guardian's biggest struggle so far has not been response times, but the numerous mechanical issues with the county's aging ambulance fleet that are "costing a fortune."

County Treasurer Scott Harnsberger also had to remind Guardian to pay its bills on time after Guardian became slow in paying for dispatch services and the lease of equipment.

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2017-10-20

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