Rural/Metro earns re-accreditation to meet ‘gold standard’

There are 40,000 ambulance services in the United States and Rural/Metro Ambulance Service in Blount County is one of only 115 agencies accredited by a national organization that ensures the “gold standard” of the industry.

On Aug. 14, County Mayor Jerry Cunningham made Rural/Metro’s reaccredidation official as he placed the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services’ decal on the last ambulance truck without the insignia.

Rural/Metro first achieved accreditation in 1997, and they are inspected and vetted every three years to get reaccredidation. C.A.A.S is based in Glenville, Ill.

“It’s a process,” Operations Chief Rob Parker said. “We’re the only ambulance service in Tennessee accredited, so we’re proud of that.”

Rob Webb, division general manager for Eastern Tennessee, including Blount, Loudon and Knox counties, said the teams of three who come to inspect every three years are very particular. The reaccredidation covers Rural/Metro’s locations in the Eastern Tennessee division.

At each inspection C.A.A.S. uses a three-member review teams that come from all over the United States. There was a physician, an operations person and an EMS educator. They visited at the end of April, completed their site visit, submitted paperwork to the committee that reviewed it and approved their reaccredidation, Webb said.

“It’s considered a gold standard,” he said.

Administrative Chief Vicki McClanahan said, “They even looked at our ad in the phone book.”

Webb praised the employees who helped make the accreditation possible. “There’s no way we could do this without you,” he said. “I truly appreciate what you do.”

While the accreditation decals were on all but one of the ambulance trucks, the reaccredidation wasn’t official until the mayor placed the last one, Webb said.

“We’re so proud of the job you do,” Mayor Cunningham said. “It’s no surprise you were reaccredited. Excellence is expected of you.”

According to the C.A.A.S. website, The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services was established to encourage and promote quality patient care in America’s medical transportation system.

Based initially on the efforts of the American Ambulance Association, the independent commission established a comprehensive series of standards for the ambulance service industry.

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