Lake Co. ambulances to spend less time at hospitals, more time on the road



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County may have solved a major backlog involving its ambulance service.

County officials said that for too long its paramedics were forced to remain with patients they transported to local hospitals while they waited on those hospitals to provide a bed. 

Emergency medical service officials said wait times sometimes dragged on for two hours or more. Officials insist the delays have persisted for years.  But now a change has been ordered. 

Administrators at the county's hospitals have agreed to a new policy that means the facilities will quickly accept patients brought in by ambulance, tightening the turnaround time to put those ambulances back in service.

"Our ambulances will not stay at a hospital longer than 30 minutes.  The hospital must take the patient within those 30 minutes.  That way our ambulances are available to go to the next call, which is very important," said Lake County Commissioner Jimmy Conner.

The new policy is effective immediately.