Council Connect Articles

Sacramento County Board Hearing Discusses Ambulance Patient Offload Times


  • Sacramento County Board of Supervisors 
  • Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services Agency (SCEMSA) 
  • Emergency medical service (EMS) providers 
  • Hospital emergency department leaders 


On Nov. 7, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors held a 90-minute informational hearing on ambulance patient offload times (APOT) and EMS innovation. The hearing revealed that the Sacramento area has some of the highest average offload times statewide, but APOT is improving. Attendees included other fire chiefs, Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522 leaders, hospital leadership, and RVP Brian Jensen.  

SCEMSA Medical Director Greg Kann, MD, approached the topic of APOT with both urgency and a collaborative spirit. He emphasized the need for layers of solutions for a complex problem, not a simplistic approach to “fixing wall times” — the length of time ambulance personnel waits for patients to be discharged from their ambulance to the hospital. He credited both hospitals and EMS providers for working together and laid out specific policy and protocol reforms – none of which were punitive to hospitals. 

Sacramento Metro Fire District presented an update on its Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program, which was incubated by Hospital Council and funded to the tune of $1.1 million by Sutter Health, Dignity Health, and UC Davis Health. Battalion Chief Scott Perryman shared overwhelmingly positive data on the program’s impact on high EMS utilizers and low-acuity calls, as well as cost savings to the system. He credited Hospital Council and individual health systems for partnering.  

Pairing the APOT and MIH presentations at the meeting highlighted how hospitals have been working with partners for years to promote innovative solutions to address offload delays. The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, which has already provided grant funding for MIH, committed its continued support.   For more information, refer to the hearing recording at 5:39:40.

Takeaway/Next Steps

All five supervisors thanked or credited the hospitals for their excellent work. A post-hearing conversation with SCEMSA and fire partners was very collaborative and constructive.