Acadian Ambulance

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc.
Industry Ambulance service
Founded Lafayette, Louisiana, 1971
Founders Richard Zuschlag (CEO, Chairman of the Board)
Headquarters Lafayette, Louisiana, United States
Key people
Richard Zuschlag (CEO, Chairman of the Board)
Services Pre-hospital medical care
Owner Richard Zuschlag and Acadian's Employee-Owners
Number of employees
Parent Acadian Companies
Divisions Acadian Ambulance Service, Acadian Air Med, Acadian Total Security, Executive Aircraft Charter Services, National EMS Academy, Safety Management Systems

Acadian Ambulance is an ambulance service that covers most of the state of Louisiana, parts of Texas, and one county in Mississippi. In 1995 it was recognized as the largest privately owned ambulance service in the United States. Today the company responds to emergency and non-emergency calls in Louisiana, Southeast Texas, Central Texas, North Texas and parts of Mississippi.

Headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana, Acadian Ambulance maintains a fleet of more than 400 ground ambulances, as well as eight medical transport helicopters and five fixed-wing aircraft that provide aerial transport to medical facilities.

In addition to emergency medical services, Acadian offers an aircraft charter service, a personal medical alarm service, fire and burglar alarm service, industrial medical personnel, fire and safety technicians, and medical and industrial training, as well as billing software.


Acadian was founded by Roland Dugas, Richard Zuschlag, and Richard Sturlese in response to funeral homes ceasing to provide ambulance services because of new, financially burdensome federal guidelines. They decided that it was time to create a private ambulance company and took their idea to the Lafayette Police Jury.

Without the needed funds to get started, they decided to hire former Vietnam War medics to staff their new company, and raise funds through membership subscriptions. On July 21, 1971, the Police Jury authorized Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc. to be the emergency provider for Lafayette Parish. To this day, Acadian uses membership drives to aid funding of the company.

When Acadian first started, they had just 2 ambulances and 8 medics. Roland Dugas was the first president. At 12:01 AM on September 1, 1971 when funeral homes ceased services, Acadian Ambulance Service went live with a membership of 8,400 households.

Over the next year, Acadian grew to a fleet of 8 ambulances, and moved into about 26,000 households. In 1972, Acadian expanded service into St. Mary and Vermilion Parishes. They soon put in a model dispatch system, of which other companies would follow.

In 1973, Acadian moved into Acadia, Jefferson Davis, St. Martin, and Terrebonne Parishes, along with the city of Eunice. Membership levels skyrocketed to 70,648. In 1974, Acadian built a new headquarters in Lafayette with a state of the art Emergency Medical Dispatch Center. The company now had 100 employees, including 75 EMTs as it moved into Evangeline and Iberia Parishes. By 1975, they had 33 ambulances, and 80,216 households covered.

In 1976, Acadian expanded their EMT training, formalizing it and fully certifying employees through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians and the state of Louisiana. In 1979, membership reached 100,000 households. This year brought the expansion into Assumption Parish, and an expansion to their telemetry system, now including transmissions of EKGs to hospital rooms from almost anywhere in the service area.

Over the past four decades, Acadian Ambulance continued to grow its service area and now encompasses the majority of parishes in Louisiana, 33 counties in Texas and one county in Mississippi. The company also expanded into six distinct divisions, with patients, clients and customers around the globe.

Acadian Companies[edit]

What started out in 1971 as a small ambulance company in Lafayette, Louisiana, has exploded into a multi-faceted, globally reaching company.

Today, Acadian has more than 4,000 employees — ranging from Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technicians and pilots to health, safety, and security professional and support staff. The Acadian fleet includes more than 400 ground ambulances, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft.

Despite their rapid and vast progress, Acadian's mission remains the same: to improve the lives of their patients, customers, and employees through their innovative spirit and diversity.

An Acadian ambulance at the scene of an emergency

Acadian Ambulance Service

Acadian Ambulance Service began operations in 1971, in response to a sudden crisis. Communities around the country found themselves without emergency medical transportation when new federal regulations caused funeral homes to discontinue using their hearses for emergency transport.

These regulations went into effect at midnight on September 1, 1971. At 12:01 a.m., Acadian Ambulance began its Louisiana operations with three young co-founders, two ambulances, eight medics, and 279 square miles of Lafayette Parish to cover. Air Med Services Surrounding parishes became interested in having Acadian Ambulance’s pre-hospital emergency care and soon invitations to serve came pouring in from other areas. Louisiana's diverse geography of rich swamps and marshlands, and extensive rural areas, made navigation in a ground ambulance an often daunting, or even impossible, task.[1]

Air Med

To address the challenge of an expanded population and geographical service area, Acadian Ambulance expanded to include Air Med Services in 1981, which hosted the first medical helicopter based in Lafayette, La. This allowed Acadian Ambulance to quickly access onshore and offshore emergency situations. By 1989, Air Med had also acquired fixed wing aircraft for extended emergency and non-emergency air medical transports. Air Med and Executive Air Charter currently operate several King Air aircraft and a Lear 45 jet aircraft.[2]

Executive Aircraft Charter Service

Eventually the fixed wing fleet of Air Med would progress into Executive Aircraft Charter Service; since only a handful of air medical flights are scheduled per week, the interior of the aircraft can be easily reconfigured and utilized for business or pleasure flights throughout North America.[3]

Safety Management Systems

At its inception, Air Med was the first aero-medical provider in the Gulf of Mexico with helicopters equipped like a hospital emergency room and flight paramedics. This vastly enhanced the safety of offshore workers and it wasn't long before Acadian also began providing contract medics to work shifts on oil installations offshore.

The duality of these developments led to partnerships with the oil & gas companies, which in turn evolved into Safety Management Systems, Acadian’s health, safety, environmental, medical, security and training service company.

Today, SMS is one of the largest providers of these services in the industry and caters to an array of industrial safety needs, such as: safety and regulatory compliance training, health and wellness testing and specialized programs, and remote paramedics.[4]

Acadian Total Security

When Acadian began in the 1970s, emergency communications were primitive, at best. Within the next 10 years, Acadian established a nationally respected dispatch center that became recognized as an industry leader in emergency communications.

Through the use of their state-of-the art technology, communication center, and highly trained dispatchers, Acadian Monitoring Services was born in 1991 as Acadian On Call. Acadian Monitoring Services currently offers personal medical alerts, mobile monitoring, GPS tracking and fleet safety services, advanced video security services, access control, security monitoring, and telehealth monitoring through three, highly sophisticated call centers.

In 2014, Acadian expanded its security monitoring division and began offering security systems, advanced video services and access control systems directly to consumers.[5]

National EMS Academy

Because most ambulance services were unregulated before 1970, Acadian became a pioneer when first training EMTs. Acadian’s 700-hour National Registry paramedic course was one of the first of its kind offered in Louisiana. In-house EMS education continued over the next three decades as Acadian’s medical education department trained medics and offered the continuing education hours EMTs needed to recertify.

However, along with the growth of the company came a corresponding shortage of paramedics. With this in mind, the National EMS Academy was launched in 2003 through collaboration with South Louisiana Community College, so Acadian could educate its own medics.[6]

Legal Problems and Lawsuits[edit]

On March 26, 1998, US Attorney Mike Skinner announced that Acadian Ambulance had been found guilty of Medicare and Medicaid fraud through over-billing of the federal programs. Acadian was fined $1.9 million to settle the charges.[7][8]

Following her total left hip arthroplasty in June 2000, Gaye Cryar was being moved from her hospital bed to the stretcher of an Acadian Ambulance to transfer her to a rehabilitation hospital. The Acadian Ambulance crew dropped the patient, causing a re-injury and an acute fracture of the acetabulum and dislocation of the hip prosthesis. Acadian won summary judgement in the trial court but the Louisiana Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, reversed the summary judgment on May 31, 2006, saying, "[the] increasing complaints after the patient reported a rough transfer from bed to stretcher at Women's, this evidence is sufficient to raise a material issue of fact as to how, when, and where the fracture occurred, as well as to the possible fault of Women's and Acadian Ambulance."[9]

On December 27, 2010, while transporting a pregnant patient, an Acadian Ambulance unit collided into the rear of a sugar cane truck near Brusly, Louisiana.[10] The patient they were transporting did deliver her baby through Caesarean section, but remained critically injured.[11] The lawsuit following the crash, Peggy Ross, et al. v. Michael Averette, et al.[12] resulted in jury awarding $116,939,241 in damages on August 1, 2012.[13][14][15]

During Hurricane Katrina, Acadian Ambulance was contracted to evacuate "Special Needs" patients in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. They were notified they needed to evacuate Dorothy Hingle, 83, and her son, Russell Embry, 54, from their home due to the pending hurricane. They contacted Ms. Hingle on August 26, 2005, and confirmed they needed to be evacuated and agreed to perform the service. On August 27, 2005, they called Ms. Hingle back stating they would not be able to evacuate them, and as a result Ms. Hingle and Mr. Embry drowned when their home was covered by the storm surge.[16]

Acadian was sued for the negligence in Cooley V. Acadian Ambulance (2010-CA-1229, LA Ct. App., 4th Circ.). On June 11, 2009, Acadian Ambulance agreed to an undisclosed settlement with the family.[17]

Also as a result of failing to evacuate "Special Needs" people in St. Bernard Parish during Hurricane Katrina, a family of three were drowned as a result of the water surge. Jake John Schiro, Sr., Individually and as Administrator of the Estates of Dolores Schulte Schiro, Jake John Schiro, Jr. and Cynthia Ann Schiro v. Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc., ABC Ins. Co., et al. was filed in 2006 and is still making its way through the Louisiana court system.[18][19][20][21]

On December 12, 2012, Acadian Ambulance was ordered to pay $17 million in a class action lawsuit against them by 12th Judicial District Judge Mark Jeansonne. Keisha Desselle, et al. vs. Acadian Ambulance Service (No. 2010-5885 "A": Avoyelles Parish) was filed on October 25, 2010, in response to the improper billing practices of Acadian Ambulance. Acadian would file liens against accident victim's insurance settlements or civil awards which violated LSA-R.S. 22:1874. Additionally Acadian would balance bill insured patients for the difference between the negotiated payments received from insurance companies and the actual charged amount of the ambulance bill.[22][23][24]

Acadian Ambulance agreed to settle a class action lawsuit for $5.9 million in June, 2014. The suit alleged that Acadian overcharged for services they provided to patients and it applies to those who were billed or paid for services between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 2013.[25][26]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^

External links[edit]