Entries Tagged 'Paramedics Plus' ↓

It’s about ‘Mutual Aid’ Stupid

FF 7:00

Five city councilors tried to ‘splain away’ why the media is getting it wrong about Paramedics Plus, REMSA and the Health Director, Jill Franken. In fact, Franken was so concerned she didn’t even bother to show up to the meeting, but did supply Council Vice-Chair Erickson a cute two-page letter to read. I guess the six figures a year Franken makes just isn’t enough for her to show up in person and defend herself. Smart move, because anytime you bring up PP to Franken in a public meeting, she sweats like a hooker in church. When she was questioned by council about approving PP as the new ambulance service, she was so nervous I thought she was going to pass out.

At one point in the informational, a long time Democrat, Erpenbach, quoted Trump by saying the media surrounding PP is ‘Fake News’. Even though the term ‘Phantom’ is the language used in PP’s contract and not made up by the media.

Stehly let them have it. First by saying councilors and other elected officials have a right to be concerned and talk to the media about the issue. She also stressed that this was about ‘Mutual Aid’ asking the council to make sure those agreements get signed ASAP.

I also told them at Public Input later that night (FF: 34:30) at the council meeting that it comes down to mutual aid and transparency. Let’s face it, it comes down to PP somehow convincing Metro 911, REMSA and the Health Department that ALL calls and transports need to go to them, and NOT to other ambulances, even if patients have to wait.

So the big question is, how did PP convince Metro and others to abide by that request? I have no idea. But if you get on the Googles you will see why PP is being sued by the Feds in other states, and it isn’t because they ask for things nicely.

I Shocked the Mayor but I did not Shock the Wambulance

(Cameraman Bruce presented this video tonight at the council meeting public input)

You hear the darnedest things at Sioux Falls City Council Public Input. July 5, 2016 was no different. Cameraman Bruce decided to present an ambulance problem he had helped a Korean War veteran with.

On June 6, 2017, Bruce finally gets a chance to present this video to the Council and then post this video for all to see.

You know what? A couple of ambulance company audience members were more concerned with boats for sale on their iPad then hearing what Bruce had to say. Then we also illustrate to what extent our administration will go to cover for the ambulance service company in Sioux Falls.

This video is an example of how little regard the audience has for us inputers. We inputers are introducing the Council members in public what many of them will not listen to in private. We try, they fail to listen, we speak in public, they are mad they need to run for cover

Medical board member unknowingly makes case for public ambulance

Sumption’s attempt to defend Paramedics Plus may ultimately make the case for a public ambulance;

Police officers, often first on the scene in emergencies, are trained in first aid as well as procedures like CPR, the use of defibrillators and applying strategies to stabilize a patient. Police can assess the medical status of an individual and call in additional support if it hasn’t already been requested or dispatched.

Paramedics Plus, the fourth level of emergency care, provides stabilization and transportation for people who require hospital services.

Notice who the first three entities that are involved with an emergency call are, PUBLIC entities. Metro Communications (911), Police and Fire, all of which are subsidized by taxpayers. So wouldn’t it just make sense for the fourth and final entity to be Public also?

And the argument gets even stronger with this statement;

Sioux Falls benefits from an integrated emergency medical system that not only works very well, but is also very respectful of taxpayers’ money. Sioux Falls spends no city money on ambulance service other than the cost of quality oversight. None. Citizens don’t need to pay personnel or buy, supply and maintain ambulances and facilities. Only users of the transport service are billed as used.

This of course is only partially true. We actually are subsidizing the FOR-PROFIT ambulance service by being the first responders, but are receiving NO compensation for that subsidy.

Our contracted ambulance provider takes on all that expense and risk, while holding the city harmless for any costs.

Who takes on the risk if an ambulance doesn’t arrive but the SFPD and SFFD does? Well your guess is probably as good as mine. We do.

The way the system is set up now, as Sumption described in great detail, taxpayers are subsidizing the ambulance service with NO payback except fines while PP cashes in on the transport. If we went with a public ambulance service through the SFFD at least there would be some kind of reimbursement from patients, Medicare, VA or insurance. Right now we receive NOTHING for our assistance. I actually believe, as Sumption laid out, that if we went with a public ambulance service, not only would it be better and more regulated, it would probably be cheaper (the profit factor would be thrown out) and the city would ultimately be reimbursed for it’s services.

Isn’t it time we sent our FOR-PROFIT ambulance service packing and replace it with a public ambulance service that has a proven record of SHOWING UP?

Quote of the Day!

The Argus now is digging around on the Paramedics Plus issue. They received the policy for ambulance dispatch that I also attained yesterday, and it backs up the Phantom ambulance scenario.

Besides councilor Erpenbach’s idiotic statement;

Councilor Michelle Erpenbach, who serves with Barth on the dispatch board, said she was satisfied leaving the matter to the health department and Paramedics Plus.

Of course she is satisfied, because if there is any controversy, it would require her to do work. Besides, she’s busy trying to figure out how to arrest landlords for leaky toilets.

But this quote from PP’s attorney takes the cake;

An attorney for the company replied instead, warning media coverage of ambulance problems could hurt confidence in 911.

YAH THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sioux Falls City Councilor Starr goes into more detail about Phantom Ambulances

So while the public has several questions about the ‘980’ calls, REMSA takes the month off, while Public Health Director, Franken hides under her desk sending out press releases.

HEAR IT ALL.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Health Director tries to distract from the Ambulance Kerfuffle

UPDATE: A press release, well isn’t that special.

Jill wrote such a sweet letter today telling us about an ordinance that was already passed weeks ago by the city council instead of talking about the real elephant in the room, the musical emergency codes of Paramedics Plus.

Public health policy is a collaborative effort. It combines the efforts of leaders charged with, and invested in, improving the health of our city, public health experts who are responsible for making effective policy recommendations, as well as advocates and concerned residents who want a healthy community and a better future for those who live, work and play in Sioux Falls.

Oh, really Jill? If you were so CONCERNED about the health and well being of our community, you would make sure ambulances show up in a timely manner.

I encourage the citizens to call these fine folks and ask them why the code for Level Zero got changed to a 980.

Public Health Director • Jill M. Franken, 367-8761

Assistant Director of Public Health • Alicia Collura, 367-8009

Emergency Medical Quality Assurance Coordinator • (REMSA) Julie Charbonneau, 367-8763

EMS Medical Director • Jeff Luther, M.D., 271-9000

UPDATE: Is Paramedics Plus using a ‘Phantom Ambulance’ as their mutual aid?

Tonight on Stormland-TV, Investikeneke Angela is doing a story about the games PP has been playing since they implemented their ‘secret’ pilot program to help correct level zeros.

Teasers are HERE & HERE. UPDATE: Another story

The biggest concern is that PP has created fake mutual aid ambulances so that they still get the call and avoid zero level;

We’ve uncovered some of those late calls when no ambulance was available. But dispatchers no longer call it a Level Zero. Instead, it sounds something like this:

“Priority one for 980. Be advised that 980 is still on the call, 962 is at Sanford and will be clearing shortly to be enroute.”So while 980 sounds like an ambulance, it’s not, causing some to question is there is a “phantom ambulance” in Sioux Falls.

I was first told about this about a month ago (apparently the person who tipped me off went to Angela to). As I was asking questions about this and listening to different radio traffic, from talking to other ambulance service EMTs and providers in the region, one word kept coming up while describing PP’s new pilot program, “Corrupt”. And it wasn’t only competition that was saying this, one of their employees described the operations of PP as ‘F*cked’.

So how does this work if this is what they are truly doing?

It’s actually quite simple. In order to avoid a ‘level zero’ as an ambulance provider you have to make sure you have mutual aid in route to an emergency scene if all your ambulances are busy. Since PP has the contract with the city to provide exclusive ambulance service in Sioux Falls, they must call in mutual aid if all of their ambulances are busy. And they are busy quite often, making transports between SF hospitals, which is guaranteed revenue and at a lower risk. So when this happens, the accusation is that instead of calling in actual mutual aid (Like Med Star) they call a phantom service called a ‘980 to 989’. 911 dispatch of course are saying it is NOT a fake ambulance but another name for a Level Zero – Well isn’t that comforting. So while this FAKE level zero is happening, PP can finish their transport without getting called out on a ‘level zero’ and once the transport is finished, they call off the 980 and respond to the call, restarting the clock all over again. By this time, it could be over 45 minutes before the ambulance arrives. Rumor has it that in some cases people waited so long, they just had a family member drive them to the hospital, others died waiting.

While all of this sounds pretty crazy, it’s not to hard to pull off. Our health director, Jill Franken and REMSA have been tight lipped about this secret pilot program, so we have NO idea WHAT they are doing to fix the level zero calls, they refused to talk to KELO.

It will be interesting to see what Angela has uncovered, but the evidence I have been shown isn’t flattering.

Good thing we picked the ‘Most Qualified’ ambulance service

Looks like we enjoyed the ambulance vetting process so much, we MIGHT get to go through it again, soon;

South Dakota is not listed in the government’s lawsuit. Sioux Falls Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority says there was no profit cap for Paramedics Plus here.

However, when it got the contract in Sioux Falls, Paramedics Plus said it was making a $1.7 million investment into the REMSA system.

Meanwhile, East Texas Medical Center will merge its two ambulance services, EMS and Paramedics Plus, and spin off the division as a separate entity and is looking for a new partner to run it.

Paramedics Plus President Ron Schwartz says he it doesn’t anticipate any change in the ambulance workforce or management structure.

So what does that mean? Well if new partners join PP, that that may mean the contract has to be renewed with the new company. Not sure.

I found this comment attached to the story;

I worked at 9-1-1 for many years and it wasn’t until Paramedica Plus got the contract that I had ever heard of a level zero for ambulance response. For who ever it was on the city council to say that Paramedics Plus is living up to their contract and the responses are within the guidelines of the contract is abhorent. It is only acceptable when it’s not you or family. Get rid of Paramedics plus and get rid of what ever politicians who thinks that this contract is acceptable.

I guess we will never know what they are doing to eliminate the issue. The ‘Pilot’ program was performed under a cloak of secrecy.

Fitch did an analysis of Minnehaha County’s ambulance service, yesterday at the CC meeting (starts at 14:00)

Did Paramedics Plus promise a ‘soft’ bribe?

I found this part of Angela Keninvestigate’s Stormland TV story about Paramedics Plus interesting;

Paramedics Plus did put in its own dispatch system for Metro Communications called PULSE and two Metro Communications workers were flown to Tyler, Texas for training on the system. The City and Metro Communications tells KELOLAND News it does not know how much Paramedics Plus paid for the PULSE system that came at no expense to the City or Metro Communications.  Paramedics Plus will not tell us how much the PULSE system cost.

However, we did find in REMSA’s annual report to the City that the software system is valued at more than $150,000. 

At the time it got the City Contract, Paramedics Plus told the City it was making a $1.7 million dollar investment into the REMSA System in Sioux Falls. The U.S. Attorney in Texas who filed the suit says it’s against the law to pay kickbacks in order to gain access to Medicare and Medicaid funds.

Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston says, “Kickback schemes are anti-competitive, undermine the integrity of our nation’s health care programs, and wrongly prioritize profits over patient care.”

When Paramedics Plus was being vetted by the city, we found several conflict of interests with PP and the advisory company hired to vet a new ambulance provider. Not sure what a bribe or kickback looks like, but I would think promising a $150K to $1.7 million dollar investment into the system a little murky.

Paramedics Plus being investigated by the Feds for Kickbacks

I always had a ‘weird’ feeling about this company when they rolled into Sioux Falls;

The United States’ complaint alleges that ETMC and Paramedics Plus entered into an illegal kickback scheme to obtain and retain a lucrative public ambulance services contract awarded by Williamson and EMSA, a public trust entity established under Oklahoma law.  The United States alleges the defendants created a slush fund controlled by ETMC and Paramedics Plus that was used to pay over $20 million in kickbacks.

Makes you wonder if the investigation will go national.