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TRAA improves top-priority response times in first month managing operations in-house

17 Oct 2022 7:12 AM | Matt Zavadsky (Administrator)

Kudos to the team at TRAA for this accomplishment!


TRAA improves top-priority response times in first month managing operations in-house

Devan Filchak

Oct 14, 2022


Three Rivers Ambulance Authority medics reached an 80% response rate to top-priority emergency calls within 8 1/2 minutes in September, the first month after its split with contractor Paramedics Logistics LLC, the organization announced Friday.

September marks the first month that the ambulance authority has handled its own operations. Three Rivers Ambulance Authority, also known as TRAA, has provided emergency medical services to Fort Wayne residents since 1983 through an agreement with the city and county, both of which appoint members to the authority’s board.

The ambulance authority handled billing while it contracted out operations to manage paramedics and emergency medical technicians, ambulances and other equipment.

To be considered compliant, at least 90% of priority one calls – emergencies including strokes, heart attacks, difficulty breathing and major traumas – have to be reached by medics within 8 1/2 minutes.

Paramedics Logistics, which had been the contractor since 2009, was unable to meet that standard for two years. The ambulance authority’s 80% September rate is 7 percentage points higher than the city’s final month of emergency service by Paramedics Logistics, a news release said.

Three Rivers Ambulance Authority also asked county ambulance services to step in and respond to a call the least number of times since June 2021, the release said.

Joel Benz, executive director, commented on the data.

“Some of the changes we are implementing are already having an effect, thanks in large part to the hard-working paramedics and EMTs within our organizations,” he said in a statement. “Statistically, this was our best month in a year and a half. We still have many challenges ahead of us as an organization, but I believe we are taking steps in the right direction.”

TRAA’s board declared a state of emergency about a year and a half ago after several months of what were considered unacceptably slow response times on priority one calls. Gary Booher, who had been the executive director for 32 years, retired about a year ago.

Benz, a local paramedic of more than 20 years and former Allen County Council member, was hired to replace Booher.

The ambulance authority’s board has made several changes aside from taking over operations in-house, including raising medic wages by $5 an hour and providing paid training for prospective paramedics and EMTs.

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