Council pushes for improved ambulance service
At the beginning of the year, Health East released its annual report to the cities it serves including Rosemount. That report showed that response times for Rosemount were significantly higher than other cities in Dakota County. Health East provides ambulance services to several Dakota County cities, including Rosemount.
Mayor Bill Droste sent a letter to the ambulance service and met with company representatives to see if those times could be improved.
On June 13, several people from the company attended a council work session to say that response times had improved and that the company would continue efforts to make things better.
Health East Ambulance operations manager Jeff Groess said the company bases its priorities on call volumes and the goal is to respond to a call in less than nine minutes. To improve Rosemount's response time, the company moved Rosemount from a level five priority city to a level four.
In the first quarter of the year Health East's average response time to Rosemount was 9:22. After the adjustment the company has reduced the average time to 8:41.
"We are making significant strides to have better response times," said Groess.
Groess said the company has moved trucks to put them in a better position to respond to Rosemount. He added the company would continue to look at ways it could improve its service to the Rosemount area.
The response time recorded by Health East is from when the Dakota Communications Center contacts the private company to when they get to the side of a patient. There is often time between the call to the DCC and when Health East gets called in.
Groess said Health East is working with the DCC to address delays in the process. But he added that because Health East is a private company some issues will likely remain.
Health East Medical director Keith Wesley said it is the goal of the company to get medical providers to patients as quickly as possible. He added, though, that many times it is first responders, police and firefighters, that save people's lives.
"It's what they do in the first three or four minutes that save lives. Patients are well served by first responders," said Wesley.
Wesley said Health East has a good relationship with Rosemount's fire and police departments and will continue to work with them to improve care to patients.
Even with the improved response times the council asked that more be done. Council member Jeff Weisensel asked if there was a way to get response time closer to seven minutes, which is the company's average response time to Eagan.
Wesley said to get to seven minutes it would likely take a full-time position in the city.
Weisensel asked if other ambulance services such as ALF Allina Ambulance might better serve the city and directed staff to find out information.
The issue will be brought back to the council at a later date.