Acadian Ambulance Finishes First Year of Implementing New Safety Measurement System

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Acadian Ambulance, the nation’s largest and most respected privately held medical transportation company, just finished its first year of a new Health, Safety and Environmental Performance Management system to measure, manage and recognize overall safety performance for ground ambulance operations.

President's Cup

After a successful year of a new safety measurement system at Acadian Ambulance, the inaugural winner of the President’s Cup for Safety Excellence is the Central Louisiana district. Terry Arceneaux, vice president of operations, holds the prestigious cup amidst some of his employees at the Alexandria presentation.

As a company, I believe that we are moving toward a culture of complete safety whether at work or off duty—a culture that says to our families that there is always a safe way and an unsafe way of doing things.

In early 2011, Acadian Ambulance, the nation’s largest and most respected privately held medical transportation company, began a new Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Performance Management system to measure, manage and recognize overall safety performance for ground ambulance operations.

President and Chief Operating Officer David Pierce says, “As a company, I believe that we are moving toward a culture of complete safety whether at work or off duty—a culture that says to our families that there is always a safe way and an unsafe way of doing things.”

Before the new program, Acadian would reward an area for achieving zero Lost Time Incidents at the six, twelve and twenty-four month periods. By using only that one data point for measurement a true safety performance was unclear.

Stephen Jacques, Acadian’s HSE manager since June 2009, identified the challenges in this system and developed a proposal for a new safety scorecard that could revolutionize the way that Acadian measured the safety culture of its ground ambulance operations. “We picked metrics that were important to us,” says Jacques, “and used a simple scorecard approach.”

The new scorecard uses a combination of leading (before the incident) and lagging (after the incident) metrics to give a more balanced and accurate evaluation of an area’s HSE performance. The main metrics include a scoring system for driving behaviors using a vehicle monitoring system, injury rates, and vehicle accident rates.

In addition to improving the safety culture, the new program creates a more positive work environment and goals to strive for. Rating Set Points for each metric range from 1, which is Well Below Expectations, to 5, which is Performance Excellence; when any area’s performance falls in the 3-5 range at the mid-year point or the end of the year, they are rewarded and recognized.

Additionally, the top performing district each year will receive the new President’s Cup for Safety Excellence, an engraved crystal cup that is housed each year by the winner. The winning district also receives a monetary allocation to spend on its employees and each employee receives a personalized windbreaker touting their champion status.

This year’s winner was the Central Louisiana district, who closed out 2011 with an impressive overall score of 4.04. All of the ground operations teams are excited about the new changes and the year end statistics for 2011 clearly reflect their enthusiasm and dedication for the new system.

At the Inaugural President’s Cup Presentation, Pierce let the employees know just how valuable they are to the safety culture of the company. “Success is right here. It’s aided by management, but the success of what we do is because of you, the people on the front line.”

The Safety Scorecard and its reward system have had an incredibly positive effect on safety and risk management performance. When comparing 2010 with 2011 there was:

  •     a 51% increase in transports between claims
  •     a 7% improvement in OSHA injury rates
  •     a 25% improvement in driving performance

This all occurred even though Acadian had a 9% increase in employees and an 8% increase in transports in 2011.

“We’ve brought our safety to a new level in 2011 with the Safety Scorecard,” says Jerry Romero, senior vice president of operations. “It allows for true measurements that create a visual report card of exactly how you are doing in these safety areas. However, the most important component about this whole new system is getting everyone home safely to their families at the end of the day.”

While everyone at Acadian is enthusiastic about the results, they have already begun making changes to the scorecard to improve even further. For 2012, they are adding a new metric, Patient Preventable Incident Rate, as well as implementing a wellness program bonus component. “We will always look for ways of perfecting the program; there is never a finish line with safety,” says Jacques.

For more information about Acadian Ambulance, please visit http://www.acadianambulance.com.

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Julie Mahfouz, PR/Marketing Manager
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