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  • cutthroating?

    A situation occured in the county I live in with the volunteer squads. Guys, I need advise on this.

    Our paid-on-call EMS service has been providing coverage for standby events in our response area for many years. Recently our service was able to upgrade to ALS, and due to rising costs of everything we had to increase our rates. A local organization that holds an event in the town were the ambulance is stationed decided they didn't want to pay this, so they contacted the other two ambulance services in the county. Each service has a specific area they cover. One service told them it was not their area, and they should use us. The other, however, asked what we charged for satndby..when they were told, they told the person they would do it for half. So..our EMTs are ****ed and feel betrayed by a service who we have coverred for when things got heavy. They are also leaving their response area with no coverage. The next service that would respond to their area?? US! We are 15 minutes away.

    I called their director to express my displeasure, I was basically lied to and told they are going to do what they want, where they want. Now, the kicker. Their director is a county commisioner AND a member of the State Board of EMS. I have some ideas, but inpur from others is always good. What would you do?

  • #2
    If they are taking the only ambulance they have and leaving their area uncovered I'd question their ability to do that. I'm not sure how things work in your state, but we can't just leave the district uncovered in NC.

    Are they perhaps sending personnel w/jump bags and not a transport unit? Do they have more than one transport unit and maybe they are sending a backup?

    It's not very nice to go into someone else's area and take business away from them, regardless of what business you are in. It is however an unfortunate fact of life.

    If they are being negligent I think a complaint to the State Office of EMS is in order - whether that guy is on the board or not.

    If they are not, they're just being 'cutthroat' there really isn't much you can do - short of public pressure to support your own service.

    You might mention to these folks that hire them that when they have a medical emergency that it won't be the cut-rate service that will be coming to save their lives - it'll be you with all that ALS equipment they'd be helping to pay for.

    I'd also ask how you handle your 'fees' for these things. We don't charge a 'fee' but we ask for donations - which gives a tax break to the donator. This tends to make them feel better about forking over the big bucks.

    Susan Bednar
    Captain - Forsyth Rescue
    North Carolina Strike Force 1


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply Susan

      Yes, they only have 1 ambulance and they'll be bringing it with them. Some regualtion for the events says there HAS to be an ambulance there.

      They are leaving their service area unprotected, with the next unit 15-20 minutes away. All they would have had to do was ask, as an arrangement could have been made so they could handle some of these events. But, this is the way they chose to deal with it.

      Unfortunately, our rates are set by the city government. I myself would like to donate the time, but the bean counters scream when no $$ are coming in. Our rates are set and published. The service I came from before (another state) was totally FREE for everything. It was supported through tax dollars. (Well, not REALLY free then)


      • #4
        A phone call from a respected member of your community to someone similar in their community explaining the lack of coverage could go along ways to help.

        And if each of them were folks who have had the need for your service in the past and were happy with your reponse even better.

        A happy "customer" can sometimes do what politicians cannot.


        • #5
          I'd forget about the EMS department and focus on the group contracting for the service. What they did was unethical and quite possibly illeagle.


          • #6
            Only one word "MEDIA" . although most of the time a pain in the --- , they are the best way to get the word out to the people that matter most , the general public. money always seems to matter , even when it should
            not , most of the time the general public cannot comprehend the amount of money it takes to keep any rescue ,or fire agency in service , they have no idea of the kind of supplies and equipment that are needed to do a job that the closest contact they ever had with was on ER, or Chicago hope . you need to
            appeal to the public and let them know about what you do for them , and what it takes to do it ,let them know your situation, and see if you can get the community behind you , I do not think that the area of your county that will be left with no coverage , which should come from thier tax dollars , will appreciate what is happening!


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