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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Department
Citizen Information Center Division
2000 Media Release


June 8, 2000
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831

Mayor Recommends That Fire Department Provide Emergency Ambulance Service

Mayor Don Wesely today recommended that the Lincoln Fire Department provide emergency ambulance service to the city, saying the department will provide residents with the best possible emergency medical services at a lower cost. His recommendation also supports independent medical oversight of the ambulance provider. Wesely also recommends that non-emergency basic ambulance transportation, which accounts for at least 25 percent of all ambulance uses, be delivered by a private provider.

"We all want the best emergency medical service possible, and patient care is the central issue in this matter," Mayor Wesely said. "My recommendation is based on experience, capability, continuity, accountability and cost as well as meeting the needs of our growing city. The Fire Department proposal offers lower rates and could result in $500,000 in additional annual revenue being generated for the city."

The current Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for ambulance service, held by Rural/Metro Medical Service, expires at the end of this year. Mayor Wesely appointed a five-member Ambulance Review Committee to gather information, review responses from those seeking to provide ambulance services and report to the Mayor. The Mayor's recommendation goes to the City Council, which will make a decision on the issuance of a new certificate. The public hearing on ambulance service is set for the June 26th City Council meeting.

Under the Fire Department's proposal, it would provide a Quick Response Team (QRT) and the transport to all calls in the 911 service area. The QRT would be provided with a firefighter/paramedic assigned to each of the 14 engine companies. Each of the ambulances would be staffed with a senior firefighter/paramedic and a firefighter/emergency medical technician. The Fire Department says this system would result in a response time of 3.5 minutes by the QRT and faster arrival times by the ambulances. The ambulance units would be housed in existing Fire Department facilities.

Mayor Wesely thanked those entities submitting proposals, members of the medical community and citizens who expressed their opinions on the issue, and the Ambulance Review Committee. Members of the committee were Finance Director Don Herz; Purchasing Agent Vince Mejer; Dr. Regina Robinson-Noble of the Lancaster County Medical Society; City Council member Jerry Shoecraft; and Leon Vinci, Health Director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

Faster Service

Lincoln Fire Department proposes a 20% decrease in response time by arriving at the scene in 6 minutes 90% of the time.

Increased ability by the Lincoln Fire Department to change stationing of ambulances to adjust to changing needs within the city and county

Increased utilization of current Fire Department facilities

Impoves stability of emergency ambulance service by making it a core public service within the city

Cheaper more Cost effective Service

Lower emergency ambulance rates for citizens. Savings up to $125 per ambulance service call at the 6 minute response rate.

The ambulance service generates revenues that pay for itself and potentially generate up to $540,000 annually and $3.4 million in revenues over the term of the contract that can help offset the city funds needed to operate the Fire and emergency services.

Continued public-private cooperative venture with private provider(s) performing all nonemergency ambulance transfers.

Better Patient Care Service

Will operate all advanced Type III ambulances

EMS from 14 locations, x more than currently operating resulting in a 24% increase in coverage over the current service

24 paramedics performing advanced procedures

A seamless emergency ambulance service under one authority and one line of supervision increasing accountability and coordination of patient care.

Independent medical oversight to help ensure ongoing training to maintain proficiency and establish procedures

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