1. #1
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    Post Tampa Fla..Private Ambulance Companies Falling Behind

    The word on the street is that Sunstar and AMR who have bases in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties respectively are being scrutinized for slow and severly inadequate response times. So much so, that some departments are considering pressing their transport units back into service to provide better EMS responses.
    _______________

    TAMPA TRIBUNE

    No Matter How Fast, They Always Seem Slow
    Published: Apr 6, 2003


    Officials are hoping the county's slow ambulance problem quickly will fade into memory.
    Last month, County Manager Stephen Spratt fired off a terse letter to American Medical Response, the Colorado company that operates the county's fleet of orange and white Sunstar EMS ambulances.

    ``In recent months ... your company's performance has not met the requirements of the contract nor has it been acceptable to the county with respect to our mission to offer the highest level of service to our citizens,'' Spratt wrote. Sunstar ambulances were late to emergencies more than 10 percent of the time in December and January, county statistics show. For non-emergencies, Sunstar was late every month from October to January.

    AMR officials were quick to respond. Bob Siler, the company's vice president for west Florida operations, said the problem was a nationwide shortage of paramedics. He said the company is trying to trying to recruit paramedics from frigid climates and will send some top emergency medical technicians to paramedic school. Also, AMR started paying more overtime to get as many ambulances as possible on the road, Siler said.

    Assistant County Administrator Gay Lancaster said a recent meeting with AMR officials went well. ``They admitted they had not delivered as well as they'd like to,'' Lancaster said. ``They are doing what we are asking them to do,'' she added. ``We think we've resolved it, but we are going to continue to monitor it very closely.''


    David Sommer can be reached at (727) 799-7413.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    I have two words that would solve this issue...FIRE DEPARTMENT

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    Hmmmmm dont this sound familiar.........

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    ``Last month, County Manager Stephen Spratt fired off a terse letter to American Medical Response, the Colorado company that operates the county's fleet of orange and white Sunstar EMS ambulancesIn recent months ... your company's performance has not met the requirements of the contract nor has it been acceptable to the county with respect to our mission to offer the highest level of service to our citizens....''

    ``They admitted they had not delivered as well as they'd like to...''
    no duh!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Default

    Originally posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    I have two words that would solve this issue...FIRE DEPARTMENT
    The ONLY way it should be...

    Eric

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    The ONLY way it should be...
    Not necessarily true. I have worked for two career departments that provided EMS. One department had deplorable patient care and the other was standard of care but guys grumbled and moaned about it and it showed in their attitudes to the patient.

    Just because it has Fire Department on the side of the truck doesn't mean squat. There are good fire service and private service EMS providers, just as there are bad.

    Remember the Paramedics are the same, the treatments are the same. The attitudes differ, and the problem will remain the same, as it has nationwide - a Paramedic shortage. Florida is tremendously short of Paramedics in fire based, private service, and third services. Nothing is going to change that. If you don't have the personnel to staff the needed number of rigs then it makes no difference whether you are fire based or not. The problem is still the same.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    Well Shark, I don't know about your part of the world, but the privates around here are loaded with people biding their time to get a municipal job. I will say that I have seen that some of the biggest complainers about fire-based EMS are the ones who have been doing it the shortest amount of time. I have worked both and in my opinion, In the long run, the fire department does a better job of providing EMERGENCY ambulance service.

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    Well the dogans we got have to provide 1 ALS and 1 BLS and they sometimes dont--but they also own the local funeral home so I guess there is no real reason they need to provide good ambie service,they win either way!!!
    Last edited by dfdex1; 04-10-2003 at 04:37 PM.

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    I don't know about your part of the world, but the privates around here are loaded with people biding their time to get a municipal job.
    We have the same situation here. We have people go to Medic school only to get a firefighter position. This results in a medic that renders care but does not necessarily care about the job because they want to be a firefighter not a Paramedic. There are many who want to be both but I will say it is about a 50/50 split up here. I myself "Bided my time" until I got on the job and observed thepathetic level of care given to patients. I left the department because of this. And I will tell you, the level and quality of care has not improved and they are widely known in the area, by the hospitals adn other agencies, as an abysmal provider of EMS and nothing will change.

    I will say that I have seen that some of the biggest complainers about fire-based EMS are the ones who have been doing it the shortest amount of time.
    I don't know about your part of the world, but some of the biggest complainers about doing medicals around here are the experienced and seasoned guys. They were on in the bad old days when you were all but gauranteed a worker in a shift. This bad attitude has filtered down to the more junior guys and has become systemic. It takes YEARS to get past this.

    In the long run, the fire department does a better job of providing EMERGENCY ambulance service.
    I disagree. Personally, it should be a third service agency whether city or regionally run. You have people who want to Paramedics or EMTs are on the trucks not people biding their time because they are the junior guys and the junior guys go on the ambulance. In addition, you do not have EMS units tied up at various incidents but that are available.

    Look at D.C. EMS - talking of splitting the two divisions. Look at the the major cities that have merged Fire and EMS. Absolute, downright animosity between the two. It is forced down both people's throats and this, in the long run, diminishes patient care for a variety of reasons.

    I know of many departments trying to get into EMS for one reasone and one reason only - to substantiate jobs.

    In any event, the reason for the shortage of ambulances has not been addressed here. Every agency wants Paramedics because that is what the community wants. Now you have a severe shortage of Paramedics NATIONWIDE. DC can't fill positions, LA can't fill positions, You can't take a job in many parts of Florida or Texas unless you are a medic or will attend school within a designated time to get it. Paramedics are in HIGH demand. I took the New Hampshire fire test last year and there were only 27 Paramedics who passed it. I have gotten calls for departments that have had more than 40 vacancies to fill and it will only be worse next year as the state grows.

    I never said that Fire Service based EMS was entirely bad. There are many instances that it is a great thing BUT it is not right in ALL situations. To say that it is ignores the variety of factors that come into play in the various EMS models.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    Well I guess we can agree to disagree. I am on a fire department that has had ALS ambulance service for THIRTY years. Hardly a new concept. I think you paint a broad brush when you say that fire department paramedics somehow care less about doing their jobs. I dont think that is true. ALL PARAMEDICS get tired of running some of the B.S. that we are called for ie: tooth aches, stubbed toes,colds and the ilk, but when push comes to shove and when it really matters, almost every fire department paramedic that I work with is professional and competent. As for you shortage of paramedics...I havent heard of one around Chicago and vicinity. Like I said before, fire-based EMS is not a new concept around here and we will fight tooth and nail to see that it remains the primary emergency medical delivery system.

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    I think you paint a broad brush when you say that fire department paramedics somehow care less about doing their jobs.
    Do not misquote me or misunderstand me. I only said that some people go to Medic school only to get a job and it can affect their patient care. It surely does not apply to all firefighter paramedics as that would be a ludicrous thing to say.

    Like I said before, fire-based EMS is not a new concept around here and we will fight tooth and nail to see that it remains the primary emergency medical delivery system.
    As you should. If the system is working well that is great and you should strive to continue to do so. The problem is when services are implemented for the wrong reasons or without a total and complete understanding of the underlying causes.

    I too know of a variety of services that are fire based that are fantastic services and are years ahead of their contemproraries and strive to remain so. I also know soem departments that don't know how to put a band-aid on as a first responder service that want to take on an ambulance service.

    I will agree to disagree with you on this. For the most part I do agree with many of your posts and find you to be a reasonable guy and I like the way your mind works. I just happen to think a little differently on this matter.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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    Thumbs up

    Brother...Its no different then sitting around a firehouse kitchen table.

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    Once again I find myself agreeing with Mikey. There is definately no shortage of paramedics around here. I can't even count the number of medics I know who are looking for a job in emergency transport.
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

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    Cool What Shortage???......

    When you post an announcement that your FD has 55 positions for Paramedic/Firefighter (notice that "Paramedic" comes first) and you get over 4,000 applications, that hardly constitutes a shortage. No disrespect, but I have no interest in moving to Florida, I like Snow and Ice each winter (Right, Stan?). I think that if the areas having problems recruiting qualified people for privates would take a look at why people are not interested in working for the privates they would solve the problem. Salaries, Benefits, Hours worked, and other things are much more attractive with Government employment than in business. Remember, Government does not have to show a monetary profit. Stay Safe....
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    The ONLY way it should be...
    If I wanted to do EMS, I would join my local EMS squad.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  16. #16
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    Post shortages are real in Fla

    There is a vast shortage of Paramedics in Fla. That coupled with the obnoxious state training agency makes it hard to get good people. That coupled with the ridiculous salary paid here makes it hard to keep em after you get em. Departments are in such desperate need of Paramedics in this area (Orange, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough Counties) that they offer very enticing incentives to get people to their departments. Some counties are now hiring non fire certified paramedics and giving them 2 years to fire certify and others are hiring fire certified people and giving them 2 yrs to get paramedic.

    However, the issue is wider than that with these private companies in this area. I am not certain how many units sunstar posts daily, but I did my EMT clinical rotations with AMR and Americare and both of them may have had 5 or 6 units in service each day. In a 12 hour day with them I did about 8-10 inter-facility transports each rotation. Some of these transports were 20 minute responses to get there. One of my responses was an emergency response to a Vehicle Accident and our response time was 20 minutes. These 5 or 6 units covered 2 or 3 counties. The fact remains that they can not provide adequate response coverage with their current level of staffing. And private or municipal...the pay is not enough....

    Hwoods...I have told you before...this is a respectable forum and there is no need for you to continue using the "S" word, the "C" word or the "I" word.........
    Last edited by captstanm1; 04-11-2003 at 03:43 PM.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
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    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  17. #17
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    When you post an announcement that your FD has 55 positions for Paramedic/Firefighter (notice that "Paramedic" comes first) and you get over 4,000 applications, that hardly constitutes a shortage.
    For this instance. For every situation that you list there are probably 5 others who are screaming to get people for the job but they just don't exist. And, of those 4,000 people how many are already employed in an area that has a shortage and many of those applicants are nationwide people too.

    Take a look in JEMS or on the FIREHOUSE classifieds and see how long some of these postings have been there. Sunstar has been posting in JEMS for God knows how long, almost a year for cryin' out loud and they still aren't getting the number of people that they need. The same is true in New Hampshire, many parts of Florida, Texas and other states. While you may not have a shortage in your area, if you take a wider look at things, you will see that most places are.

    Wow, I had to fix a lot of typos. I guess the brain gets going and just can't keep up with the hands.
    Last edited by DaSharkie; 04-14-2003 at 11:14 AM.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

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    Default It's tough to turn a profit in the 911 business

    As a former AMR employee in a 911 service system I can say from experience that response times were a consistent problem. Luckily I worked nights so for the most part I was spared from inter-hospital transfers. Even on slow nights though the dispatchers were hard pressed to keep enough units posted throughout the county to provide adequate emergency responses...and on a busy EMS night, forget it..all holy hell would break loose. I don't blame the medics or the dispatchers though, there just weren't enough units to go around. (Because of all the corporate BS we had to put up with, very high turnover rate, and the salary that would probably qualify you for food stamps.). It was one the happiest days of my life to get hired on to SAFD, but I can honestly say there are some great medics at AMR who are there strictly to do the job and help people (even working for peanuts)

  19. #19
    55 Years & Still Rolling
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    Smile Thanks, Guys.........

    Sometimes I have a problem viewing the forest because all them damn trees are in the way...... I guess we are real lucky, or something, to get the response that we get for employment announcements. I never thought about people jumping ship elsewhere to come here, but I guess anything is possible. And, Stan, I'll try to watch my S's, C's & I's. Y'all Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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