We warned the city council about doing business with these folks, deaf ears;

Seven ambulance industry defendants have agreed to pay the government a total of over $21 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging that they knowingly submitted claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs that violated the Anti‑Kickback Statute, the Justice Department announced today.

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally funded programs.  The Anti-Kickback Statute is intended to ensure that medical providers’ judgments are not compromised by improper financial incentives and are instead based on the best interests of their patients.

The settlements announced today resolve allegations brought in a whistleblower action filed under the False Claims Act in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas by Stephen Dean.  Dr. Dean alleged that East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, Inc. and East Texas Medical Center Regional Health Services, Inc. (together, “the ETMC Defendants”), and their affiliated ambulance company, Paramedics Plus, LLC (“Paramedics Plus”), offered kickbacks to several municipal entities to secure their lucrative ambulance business, including Emergency Medical Services Authority (“EMSA”), Alameda County, California, and Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services Authority in Florida (“Pinellas EMSA”).  The False Claims Act authorizes private parties to file suit for false claims on behalf of the United States, and permits the United States to intervene in such suits, as it did here in part.

It seems more and more, the city likes doing partnerships with crooks.

Mike Huether’s administration decided to take the ‘passive agressive’ approach when throwing a fellow elected official under the bus;

Recent comments made to a local news organization regarding Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and the Sioux Falls emergency medical services (EMS) system are a disservice to the residents and visitors of our city. When it comes to medical emergencies, our community is in safe hands.

What were the comments and who made them? Your press release doesn’t mean anything unless you tell us these important details. Maybe Mike’s communication director needs to go to ‘Writing a Press Release 101’ class.

Oh, and it gets better;

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is exploring the potential to utilize paramedics, currently employed within their department, to be advanced life support responders during specialty incidents. Specialty incidents include events like water rescues, structural collapses, and SWAT responses. The addition of this response capability will have no impact on the City’s contract for surface ambulance service.

It will in fact have a HUGE impact. First off, we will be subsidizing our private for-profit ambulance service more AND we will finally be allowing 1st responders from our SFFD to perform advanced life support instead of waiting for a phantom ambulance to show up.

It’s time to move forward with a public ambulance service and stop the games.

I wasn’t able to find the ghost of Tuthill, will I find it when I call for an ambulance?

I guess at the REMSA meeting on Wednesday the board is renaming ‘Phantom’ ambulance in their Metro 911 training guide. Who wants to guess what the new name will be? I’m going with Morning Fog or Casper?

Cameraman Bruce plans to film the historic moment.

Besides consenting to $300K towards lighting upgrades to the EC, the council has a very busy agenda.

Item #32, Ambulance rate increases. This is another bizarre legislative item the city council has to vote YES on from advice of legal counsel. So what’s the point? Should be an interesting discussion about the power of the council.

Item #45, the council approves the (Half) gift of land to the Glory House. This is a good thing the council is doing. The only unfortunate part is that the mayor had to get his grubs into a deal because a 100% gift wasn’t his idea of hand up, you know, like a private tennis club the city gave $500K to.

Item #48, the council will be approving a resolution for a preliminary plan for Avera’s new south side campus. As a person who lives close to the DT campus, I am happy to hear they will not be expanding anymore in my neighborhood. Now if we can just get Sanford to stop gobbling up central Sioux Falls affordable housing.

Item #50, the council will be presented with the new districting maps. Not sure if they are approving them Tuesday night or not, it is unclear from reading the agenda item.

Item #51, this one is a mystery to me since there are NO attached documents with the item. It seems to be about picking an external audit firm for the city. The city has always used Eide Bailly to do their external audits which is just basically a financial statement audit. A few weeks ago, councilor Stehly asked if the city ever considered using alternative firms to change it up every couple of years and wondered if it was ever put out for bid. We’ll see I guess.

Unlike the City’s Propaganda Network’s version, Cameraman Bruce’s version has the Q & A portion of Press Conference.

BUT, BUT, BUT, we’re contract compliant. Don’t question us, we’re following the letter of the contract. Does it mean we have to show up? Does it mean the clock starts at the right time? Does it mean the ambulance is called immediately? Does it mean my loved one or me will be able to get to the hospital in time? Nope, because we’re contract compliant.

It doesn’t make us feel any better if you do say “BUT, BUT, BUT, we’re contract compliant” louder and louder from some high spot in the road where someone is laying. Just because you are trying to talk over us doesn’t mean you are right.

Jill Franken, our Sioux Falls Health Department Director, held a presser on Monday, July 10, 2017 to make sure we know Paramedics Plus is contract compliant. As City Council Chair Rick Kiley points out in front of our camera, even when it looks like they cook the books, 536 times on 544 is still a problem. But you know, the wambulance is contract compliant. Listen for the interesting phrases she uses to make it all better in their minds.

We’re still wondering about the approximately 300 priority calls in a two month period sent to the phantom 980 ambulance. Did you get to ride in the 980? Let us know.