(Fargo, ND) -- Essentia Health has notified the North Dakota Department of Health about alleged improper practices by Sanford-owned F-M Ambulance. In a statement provided to WZFG News, Essentia says it identified a trend where certain EMS providers disregarded patient requests for transport to Essentia Health in Fargo.
In the statement, Essentia says "Patients have a right to choose where they receive health care. When a patient requests emergency medical treatment with Essentia, EMS personnel should respect that request. Essentia Health is a regional trauma center providing 24/7 emergency and surgical services to our trauma patients. On behalf of our patients, we are working to ensure that patient wishes are respected and ambulance services to Essentia Health are available. We have formally filed several official grievances with F-M Ambulance, and are now working with the North Dakota Department of Health related to these transport issues with F-M Ambulance Service, a Sanford Health subsidiary."
WZFG News contacted Sanford Health, which offered the following response:
"F-M Ambulance's standard operating procedure is to allow the patient the choice of which facility they wish to be transported within the Fargo-Moorhead metro area. There are special considerations but are consistent and in adherence to state guidelines. There are also special medical conditions the patient may be experiencing that require transporting to the quickest appropriate facility. Examples: cardiac arrest, STEMI (Heart attack), stroke and ob/delivery. These conditions however are explained to the patient should the patient request a facility that may have a longer transporting time. The patient must make an informed decision of the possible ramifications of bypassing a closer facility which includes possible injury or even death. If the patient is unconscious and unable to choose a facility the quickest facility is then selected. ND Statute 33-38-01 Trauma System Regulations. 33-38-01-05 Local Emergency Medical Services transport plans."
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