UPDATE (1/12/23): The Vermilion Parish 9-1-1 committee rejected bring a second ambulance service to Vermilion Parish. MedExpress wanted to expand their service to Vermilion Parish. The company will now have to wait two years before they are able to reapply.

ORIGINAL STORY: ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY) — In Abbeville, the 911 committee is hearing arguments regarding a second ambulance service being brought into the parish.

Corey Miller, with MedExpress, said “We started doing research and Vermilion has grown in the past 20 years by approximately 8 to 9 thousand residents. Everything has grown but the pre hospital EMS care has actually decreased.”

Miller said MedExpress’ involvement in the parish will assist in lowering response times to emergencies in the parish, response times that Acadian Ambulance doesn’t consider an issue.  

“Vermilion Parish right now has two ambulances at night covering over 580 miles each,” Miller said. “We started doing research on the response times and found that there is a large gap. We feel we can go in there and help close this gap.”

Paul Fuselier, with Acadian Ambulance, said, “In Vermilion Parish we have to meet certain thresholds and criteria with regard to response time. In the last five years we have not missed that threshold.”

Fuselier finds the inclusion of MedExpress will create issues due to the rotation of 911 calls. For example, some units may be closer, but not receive the call.

MedExpress plans to find a way to work around this.

“The reason it doesn’t work is because another service is going to come in and rotate 911 calls right off the bat,” Fuselier said. “911 rotation does not guarantee the closest ambulance.”

Miller said, “The way two companies work together is, yes, it is a 1-to-1 rotation when it comes to 911, if my closest ambulance is 20 minutes away, I am sending my closest ambulance, but I am on the phone with Acadian dispatch asking if they have anything closer to that patient.”

With both companies presenting their arguments in tonight’s meeting, both sides feel their solution is the right one.

“We see the need and we know the need, I understand the business side of where Acadian is coming from but bottom line we built the model to where even if we only receive 50% of the call volume in this area we have built a sustainable model to be able to carry on and still provide services the people need,” Miller said.

Fuselier said, “It’s important that we continue the sole service market there so that the people of Vermilion Parish will always have the highest quality of care. They’re not going to have to shop around for ambulances. When you’re having a heart attack you don’t have time to say who do I want. You need somebody coming and I think we’ve lived up to those standards.”