Alabama Hospital Association addresses increases in ambulance response times

Increased ambulance response times are a statewide issue.
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 8:56 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Increased ambulance response times continue to cause problems across the state, and depending on who you ask, you could hear several reasons why.

“There is a blame issue. It is a reality,” said Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association. “Hospitals are doing their best.”

While area ambulance companies are understaffed, they say the real problem falls on the backs of hospitals.

“A lot of times we’ll have to wait two hours or more to drop patients off at the area hospitals because they’re just simply full,” said Kirk Barrett, chief operating officer of Haynes Ambulance.

The Alabama Hospital Association says many hospitals are also working with limited staff.

“We are in a post-COVID world, and the post-COVID world is different and it’s going to continue to be different until we get some of the staffing issues solved,” Williamson said.

That is why Alabama lawmakers plan to discuss bills in the legislative session that would help with hospital staff recruitment and retention.

The association says it is a long-term solution but not an immediate fix.

“There is a fairly long lead time from a nurse entering nursing school to going into the hospital,” Williamson said.

He added another reason for the increased response times is because people are going to the emergency room when it is not absolutely necessary. People should only call when they need immediate care.

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