Assembly Assesses Ambulance Offload Delays
On Wednesday, the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management convened an informational hearing on “The Impact of Ambulance Patient Offload Delays on Emergency Response.” The committee hearing, chaired by Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez, featured two panels of experts, including representatives from local EMS agencies. In his opening comments, Chair Rodriguez acknowledged the longstanding issue of ambulance offload delays and discussed the importance of ensuring the availability of EMS personnel, particularly amid emergency conditions and events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first panel detailed operational perspectives and potential solutions to lengthy ambulance offload delays. Committee members heard from Los Angeles County EMS Agency Director Cathy Chidester, as well as representatives of fire, EMS providers, and labor. The second panel of the hearing explored current local and state efforts to reduce “wall times” or the amount of time paramedics are waiting in the emergency department for hospital personnel to assume patient care. Representatives from the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), hospitals, and health care providers discussed their strategies in reducing ambulance offload times to ensure the continued availability of EMS personnel and resources.