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AMR Northwest Operations



For the third time, AMR Northwest, including Cowlitz and Clark counties in Washington and Multnomah, Clackamas and Josephine counties in Oregon, received a perfect score on their CAAS reaccreditation. CAAS is the gold standard for the ambulance industry. Only the top two percent of ambulance agencies in the U.S. are accredited. 

The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) 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.

Portland has a long history of accreditation. In 1995, the first 25 agencies in the country were accredited—AMR Northwest was one of them. Even today, this is an elite group. In North America, there are only 177 CAAS accredited agencies.

“CAAS accreditation means we meet the highest standards set for the medical transportation industry,” explains Cyndi Newton, Clinical Manager. “The public can view our reaccreditation as validating the quality of our processes and people.”

Getting CAAS accreditation is no easy task. The accreditation committee evaluates the operation on 107 characteristics on a wide range of standards including patient protocols, financial management, disaster coordination, community education, personnel management, clinical standards, safety and risk and communications. 

“It truly does take a village,” Newton adds. “Each department from HR to Finance to Operations plays a big part in pulling together the information needed for the accreditation process.” My goal is to ensure we are as thorough and detailed as possible when submitting our application. 
Once accredited, an operation must go through reaccreditation every three years which includes completing a self-assessment and an application. Once your application is evaluated, an onsite visit is scheduled.

“The key to a successful site visit is providing as much detailed information as possible on the application,” Newton adds. “It’s important to make sure what you said matches what the CAAS reviewer is seeing and hearing in your operation.”

During the onsite review, reviewers talk to every functional lead and inspect every area of the operation from fleet to the condition of the break room.

In the end, the effort is worth it. “Getting accredited not only ensures your operation is top notch but it prevents your business from becoming stagnant, and more importantly, it keeps your crews safe by ensuring all appropriate protocols and procedures are in place,” said Newton. 
Congratulations to the entire team in Oregon who take accountability for what they do and take pride in how they do it.