Sioux Falls Fire Department proposing coming one step closer to having a Public Ambulance service

As the SFFD points out in their presentation at the 4 PM informational meeting today, why not use the Paramedics we have to respond to emergency situations;

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is exploring the potential to utilize paramedics, currently employed by Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, as Advanced Life Support (ALS) responders during specialty incident responses.

Also, if we are going to be paying for this important training that I agree with 100% why not go whole hog and put in public ambulances so that taxpayers get some kind of reimbursement from the service;

  • Budgetary Considerations
  • Staff Considerations
  • Certifications
  • Skills validations
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Medical Guidelines will need to be adopted by Sioux Falls Fire
  • Rescue and REMSA
  • Collaboration with the Sioux Falls Firefighters Association

It seems blatantly obvious that we would be paying for all the training and equipment to provide a public ambulance;

This expanded response capability would allow Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to provide immediate initial advanced life support to victims of a specialty response incident.

And with the purchase of the ambulances and expanded parking facilities we would have a complete public ambulance service instead of the taxpayers currently subsidizing a private entity’s profits, an entity currently being investigated by the Federal Government.

I’ve heard rumblings from within the SFFD that many in management support a public ambulance service but the former SF Fire Chief fought it by convincing the Mayor that it wouldn’t be cost effective. Not only would it save taxpayers millions in public safety, it would be a more reliable service that the city and public could monitor more closely.

The only REAL drawback is that the city would probably have to hire a 3rd party private contractor to collect insurance and other fees for a commission.



9 comments ↓

#1 Michael Wyland on 02.20.18 at 5:59 pm

I watched the informational briefing by SFFD. Looks like it’s a win-win for Paramedics Plus and city residents.

2018 will be spent in planning, with rollout anticipated in 2019. It’ll cost the city money, some of which will likely go to PP to pay for skills validation (jargon meaning you need to do something regularly – or have skills reinforced by refresher training – to keep being good at it).

The main benefit to all parties is as follows. PP won’t have to station one or more ambulances near dangerous sites during crises, taking it/them out of service for other calls (keeping response times low and ambulances available for residents). SOME (not all) of SFFD’s paramedics (sounds like 12-16 out of 35 or so paramedics) will receive the skills validation and related training to qualify to respond to the special situations as initial advanced life support.

#2 l3wis on 02.20.18 at 6:22 pm

It is a good thing, and expensive, one of the reasons why a public ambulance service ran by the SFFD under one roof makes sense and not only saves taxpayers $$$ but also patients because the city won’t have an objective to be profitable, only to be revenue neutral.

#3 The D@ily Spin on 02.20.18 at 7:23 pm

I’m wondering if city firefighters could be cross trained as paramedics. Some scenes are small fires easily put out but with some on site treatment. Some people refuse Hospital transport but need basic attention. Cross training would benefit when there’s a major crisis where PP was overwhelmed. Cross trained fire personnel would qualify for more pay.

#4 Ljl on 02.20.18 at 9:32 pm

Bill the ride to the hospital you deliver the patient to and let them collect.

#5 Thomas on 02.20.18 at 11:58 pm

We’ll still have to have a private ambulance service to make transfers from one facility to another or for out of town runs. Do you think that the residents of Sioux Falls will want to subsidize the ambulance services for Tea and Harrisburg? What about advanced life support crews that meet an out of town ambulance up to 20 miles from Sioux Falls? If Aberdeen can support a public EMS service and a private service, then Sioux Falls can too.

#6 scott on 02.21.18 at 6:32 am

who would get kickbacks if the fire department took over ambulance service?

#7 l3wis on 02.21.18 at 8:26 am

Thomas, the hospitals would have to be responsible for their own transfers, or a private service could provide them, either way, not the concern of the city.

LJL, you make a good point, I never thought of it that way.

#8 Michael Wyland on 02.21.18 at 10:45 am

Sanford and Avera are already allowed to provide their own transfers, either from the air ambulances (planes) tot eh hospital or between hospitals. It’s an exception to the exclusivity of the Paramedics Plus contract.

All SFFD firefighters (150? 175?) are emergency medical technicians (EMTs). About 35 of that number have received the additional training to be certified as paramedics. I’m told that the SFPD has at least one trained paramedic as well.

There is zero doubt that a public ambulance service will cost city government more than the existing private contract, since the current city budget cost of operating the ambulance service is zero. The costs of operating REMSA (volunteer oversight of emergency medical services, including but not limited to ambulance) and the Medical Board (setting emergency medicine “protocols” (standards and practices) are overhead that would be required regardless of how the ambulance service was provided.

#9 l3wis on 02.21.18 at 1:18 pm

Well duh it would cost more, the difference is we would get reimbursement from patients and insurance while we get $0 now for assisting PP. In fact, just look at the stats, Most of the time RIGHT NOW SFFR shows up before PP, also RIGHT NOW around 90% of emergency SFFD calls are medical emergencies. We are ALREADY responding, we just aren’t completing the last step of ALS and transport. It is completely idiotic that we subsidize a for profit ambulance service when we could be completing the calls ourselves, faster, more efficiently, safer and we could get reimbursement. The current setup makes no sense at all.

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