Patient Care EMS:Â Two employees tested positive for COVID-19 in early April, one testing positive on April 1 and the other on April 7. Neither employee had been on an ambulance since the end of March, said Michael Bureau, chief operating officer. Employees wear masks at all times while they’re around coworkers or patients and have their temperature screened daily, Bureau said.
So two ambulance workers test positive and the public is not made aware of this until over 20 days later! If I’m having an emergency, I think I will just call Lyft. (Probably faster anyway).
FF: 1:32:30 – Sioux Falls City Council Meeting, 11/13/2018
Watch the discussion about the six-year contract extension for the private ambulance service.
I guess you can continue to repeat a lie hoping people will finally believe you. Certain councilors continue to say we are NOT subsidizing PP, but we are, and it costs taxpayers a lot. The SFFD and the SFPD usually are the first to show up to a medical emergency. Just a few years ago, a study from the SFFD showed that over 90% of fire calls are medical emergencies. We also are going to now have ALS trained firefighters so they can use life-saving procedures when they are the first to arrive. Which is awesome, since we have no idea when our private contractor is going to show.
Last I checked our firefighters and police were NOT volunteer, and the gas that fuels their vehicles is not FREE. By showing up first to these emergencies we are essentially subsidizing PP and getting no reimbursement. Taxpayers are swallowing that cost.
Some councilors are so against a public ambulance service they continue to peddle the lie that it would cost taxpayers more. Not sure what math they are using. Right now we get ZERO reimbursement for being the first responder, if we provided the entire ambulance service we could bill the patients or their insurance provider.
I guess I kind of understand why some councilors are against a public ambulance service, because it will take a lot of work and initial capital to get one started. But please, just admit you are against it, and STOP LYING to the public. We are subsidizing PP, and that’s a fact.
UPDATE: FF: 1:09:40 – Changing time limit of public input for 2nd readings to 5 minutes.
You know my feelings on this. I think if it is a 2nd reading and people are trying to protect their neighborhood, property or welfare as long as they are being pertinent to the topic and not repeating other testimony, they should have no time limit. This is how the Minnehaha County Commission handles it, and it works well. Brekke has proposed they change it from the very restrictive 3 minutes to 5 minutes. While I will applaud her effort in making it better, we could go further. Other councilors including Councilor Neitzert agree it was too restrictive and needs to change. I thanked Greg last night for his testimony. He pointed out the real problem with public input had more to do with the previous chair than the public itself. The former chair ran the meetings horribly, and treated citizens with extreme disrespect. I predicted when they made the changes that they were not needed because the chair and a certain other councilor who were contributing to the disruption would be gone. Council is now realizing that is exactly the case, and I am happy some of them are seeing it.
Now they need to overturn Rolfing/Erpenbach’s horrible majority vote council seat resolution.
Yesterday during the Sioux Falls City Informational Council meeting they discussed extending Paramedics Plus contract (or whatever they are calling themselves these days – Look at theÂ INSERT COMPANY NAMEÂ line on this contract: contract-draft. They have changed their name so many times they don’t even know what their name will be when they sign the contract. Good Grief). While a 6 year contract wouldn’t be such a bad idea, it is unfortunate that we signing the contract with them;
For instance, you could have to wait a while for your ambulance â€” in some cases up to 90 minutes.
I think a 6 year extension would give the city time to explore and implement a public ambulance service, but I’m wondering if we should just leave it as a 5 year instead. When Mayor TenHaken was on Patrick Lalley’s show not to long ago he expressed that he may want to look at the public option down the road though people in his administration have said they don’t want to. I think if they started studying it RIGHT now, they could easily implement it in 3-5 years.
During the informational some kept trying to peddle the flat out falsehood that we are NOT subsidizing PP. We are. As taxpayers we are staffing our fire department to show up to these emergencies without reimbursement from PP. Councilor Pat Starr said just that during the meeting yesterday. Councilor Erickson tried to deflect Starr’s testimony by saying it would cost MILLIONS to run a public ambulance service. While the initial capital cost would be high, after it’s implementation we would be able to bill patients for the service and get a heavy subsidy. As of right now we are showing up to these emergencies and assisting a private for profit ambulance service and getting NO reimbursement. A public ambulance service would also be more affordable, faster, more reliable and be ran by qualified city union fire fighters and EMTs. For the public good it just makes more sense.
There are a lot of FACTUAL arguments for and against using a public ambulance service. So let’s try to stick to those. Councilor Starr did;
And because in 2019 the city will begin a practice of allowing paramedics on the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to perform advanced life support at emergency scenes, Starr said now is that time.
“All fire fighters are EMTs, and we have a large number of paramedics that we pay to train,” he said earlier this month. “I’d like to see them take on that role because I see ambulance service as a utility, and it shouldn’t be a for-profit business.”
But that didn’t stop Mayor TenHaken’s Deputy COS, TJ Nelson, from spinning the issue;
“This is really a philosophical discussion,” said T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff in the mayor’s office. “ButÂ it’s unrealistic to think the city could prop up a city-run ambulance in two years and that’s not something we’d even propose.”
Philosophical? Has Nelson been reading Plato? It is an easy discussion to have based on research that is already out there. This isn’t a conservative vs. liberal philosophies. This is an ambulance service. I do agree you would NOT be able to start one in two years, but a 4-5 year time frame would not be unreasonable.
But this statement is just flat out false;
But Nelson predicts that study would show an astronomical financial burden on Sioux Falls and its taxpayers should future city leaders want to do away with the for-profit model historically used here.
“That would be a huge lift, dozens of new FTEs and millions of dollars in capital just to lift that up. And we’re getting it all now for no cost,” he said referring to the staffing increases a change would require, the construction elements that would come with equipping fire halls with additional space to house ambulances and the liability that comes with providing ambulance service.
NO cost? Was that some kind of sick joke? Right now the SFFD is responding to emergency calls, in fact over 90% of fire calls are medical emergencies or similar events. They are ususally the first ones there before the ambulance. Our reimbursement for responding to these calls and essentially subsidizing Paramedics PlusÂ is ZERO! With a Public Ambulance service we could contract a 3rd party to collect payments and work with insurance companies and medicare for a commission, we would receive the remainder. In other words we would be able to collect payments for service. Right now PP pays the city NOTHING for responding to these events. While initially the capital costs would be high, once the system is in place we would actually be taking in revenue from it. Just because it is PUBLIC doesn’t mean we cannot receive payments for the service.
As for having a consultant looking at options, Cameraman Bruce adds;
The use of J Fitch and Associates as our future ambulance consultant should be held in scorn. This is the operation caught in the middle of the federal probe of questionable practices. Paramedics Plus, it’s personnel and J. Fitch are partners in many operations and â€œclubsâ€. Any help from them would continue the wrongs we are experiencing.
It is time to explore a Public Ambulance service, but let’s do it in a HONEST and Transparent way.
UPDATE: Please tell me that the TenHaken administration is looking at public ambulances;
It’s unclear if Mayor Paul TenHaken’s administration intends to support REMSA’s recommendation, though T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff in the mayor’s office, said TenHaken and the city health department will bring a recommendation of their own next month.
“We’re still formalizing what our recommendation will be,” he said.
Paramedics Plus executives could not be reached for comment.
Ultimately, the decision about extending Paramedics Plus’Â contract lies with the City Council, which has members who have been critical of service in Sioux Falls.
I have heard from within the SFFD that many of the higher ups support a public ambulance service, and have for years, but have gotten resistance from the former mayor and chief. Maybe this will create a golden opportunity for TenHaken to achieve that goal. Maybe taxpayers will actually get something back from providing the service instead of just subsidizing a private service.
Rumor has it that the Sioux Falls city council was recently informed by the Health Department that PP was looking to renew their 5 year contract early. It isn’t scheduled to expire for another 2 years(?).
I find it a little suspicious with all the talk about public ambulance service and the SFFD training in ALS (Advanced Life Support) that PP is looking to renew 2 years early.
Could they be concerned the city may change it’s service to another company or better yet public ambulances within 2 years? The city could certainly fast-track and have a public ambulance service available within two years.
It will be interesting to see what the reasoning is behind the early renewal and if the city will allow it.