Vancouver Fire Department works to discover, address inequities in emergency service delivery


This research was initiated by VFD as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to improve equity in the delivery of its services

American Medical Response-Clark County Operations (AMR-CCO) contracted with Healthcare Equity Group to conduct an evaluation of equity in emergency medical service (EMS) treatments in Vancouver. 

This research was initiated by VFD as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to improve equity in the delivery of its services.

“Ultimately, these findings will help us to be a better and stronger organization, one that is responsive to the needs of our increasingly diverse patient populations in Vancouver and ensure equitable care for all the patients we serve,” said Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes.

The research conducted by Healthcare Equity Group consisted of:

• An assessment of internal systems, policies and organization practices to identify gaps and opportunities in providing an environment where equity in performance can be better understood and modified.

• A series of benchmark data analyses to evaluate equity in EMS treatments provided by VFD and AMR-CCO. The first two EMS treatments selected for analysis were pain management and cardiac chest pain.

The report and findings were presented to the city, AMR-CCO and the Clark County Medical Program Director earlier this month. Major findings and recommendations from the report include:

• The treatment equity analysis for both pain management and cardiac chest pain found treatment disparities in EMS services to some marginalized communities in Vancouver.

• Recommendations for organizational improvement in several areas that have a direct impact on improving the treatment equity of EMS care, including reporting, training topics and resources, community outreach, language and interpretation practices, and data collection and management practices.

“This analysis was a necessary first step to helping us to become aware that these inequities exist, examine the effects that inequities have on EMS patient care, and gain an understanding of the disparities that exist in our services,” said Vancouver Fire Chief Joe Molina.

“The research initiated by the city and VFD parallels the work being done by AMR Portland surrounding the identification of treatment disparities and development of health equity initiatives to better serve their community,” said AMR Regional Director Rocco Roncarati. “The findings and recommendations from the research done in both Vancouver and Portland presents an opportunity for us to make a major change in how emergency medicine is delivered and potentially improve patient outcomes for future generations,”

“I respect the professionalism and dedication of each and every one of our EMS providers, and I look forward to working together on eliminating treatment disparities for impacted communities in Vancouver,” added Molina.  

A copy of the report can be found on the city’s website at www.cityofvancouver.us/fire.

Information provided by city of Vancouver.

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