Richmond (VA) Ambulance Authority Celebrates 30th Anniversary

A Richmond Ambulance Authority ambulance.
Photo/Richmond Ambulance Authority

The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) celebrated its 30th anniversary Thursday serving the City of Richmond. On March 20, 1991 the Virginia General Assembly passed the Richmond Ambulance Authority Act and on September 23, 1991 the City of Richmond granted the franchise to RAA. Prior to RAA’s existence, emergency medical services (EMS) in Richmond were under dire circumstances, as private ambulance services competed for the highest paying patient transports. This often left the city’s most vulnerable communities at risk and underserved. RAA was conceived by the leadership of Richmond City Council and the city manager in order to guarantee performance and outstanding customer service to Richmond’s citizens regardless of where they lived or their ability to pay. Since its inception, RAA has delivered on that promise and is known nationally and internationally for its approach to pre-hospital healthcare.

“We are thrilled to reach this incredible milestone and are fortunate to be able to serve such an amazing community,” said RAA CEO Chip Decker. “Over the last three decades RAA has built an international reputation for its cutting edge approach to prehospital healthcare. Our continued recognition by industry experts as world-class healthcare providers over the past 30 years would not be possible without the strong partnership and continued support from our city’s leaders.

RAA has become a destination for healthcare professionals across the United States and across the world for its data-driven approach to EMS. As one of a handful of high performance EMS systems, the agency uses data and information systems to conduct demand analysis and position ambulances at different locations throughout the city throughout the day in order to deliver high quality patient-centered care quickly and efficiently. RAA’s partnership in recent years with the Panamerican Trauma Society has led to visits from trauma surgeons from Central and South America as they participate in this international observer program. These healthcare professionals are embedded with RAA to get a full understanding of the agency’s role in the overall trauma system. The clinicians take the lessons learned at RAA back to their own countries as they work to improve their respective emergency medical care systems. We have also garnered attention and visits from government officials, doctors and EMS personnel from England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Norway, Columbia, Rwanda, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Australia, Turkmenistan and Taiwan.

RAA’s call volume has gone from about 43,000 calls in 1991 to more than 60,000 calls in the past few years – a 50 percent increase. Despite the surge in call volume, RAA has consistently been recognized for its excellent level of service regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally. Most recently, RAA was awarded reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) for its compliance with national standards of excellence. The agency was also named an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED). The CAAS and IAED accreditations are considered the “gold standard” for ambulance agencies. RAA is one of only 32 agencies in the country accredited by both CAAS and IAED.

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