Ambulance Patient Offload Time

About Ambulance Patient Offload Time

As the number of calls to 911 increases, ambulance transports have reached record levels, and the number of people seeking care in the ED continues to grow. That’s led to sometimes lengthy delays in ambulance patient offload times (APOT) — the time it takes for a patient arriving via ambulance to be transferred and the emergency department (ED) to assume responsibility for care of the patient. While delays ultimately manifest themselves in the ED, it’s broader problems in the health care delivery system — outside of the hospitals’ control — that result in APOT challenges. To shorten the offload times, multiple issues must be addressed. This includes increased ED use for non-emergency conditions, lack of primary care resulting in sicker patients when they arrive at the ED, increased use of EDs for patients in a behavioral health crisis, fewer community care discharge options, workforce shortages, and more. Hospitals recognize the need to reduce APOT and are working closely with all involved to find solutions. 

Emergency Services Legislative Updates

CHA is hosting a webinar to ensure members are well-informed on proposed bills and understand how collaborations with outside entities like ambulance providers, LEMSAs, and fire departments can aid in delivering effective, safe patient care.

New APOT Materials Available for Hospitals

As CHA and the Regional Associations continue to work on hospitals’ behalf to help educate about ambulance patient offload times (APOT), CHA has developed materials that members can use when talking with the public, media, lawmakers, or other key stakeholders about this issue. 

A Path Forward on Ambulance Patient Offload Times

While the number of COVID-19 cases in California is beginning to taper on the heels of the largest surge since the pandemic began, hospitals continue to see high numbers of patients needing care — not unexpected since hospitalizations typically lag cases by about two weeks, and the backlog of patients needing other types of care remains long.