This is what happens when you try to fix something that isn’t broken:
I was hard pressed to find a single good reason for the change when Kansas City Fire took over MAST. Granted, this is coming from someone who never worked there, but I saw this coming from a mile away. I knew that they would try and run the ambulance division just like the fire department, and there was no way they could do it without compromising something.
The Fire Department has failed in every three-month period since the takeover to meet the council’s response requirement citywide. In fact, the department hasn’t yet reached the mandated response time citywide in any single month. The times have been slowest north of the river, and often not much better in the city’s southern parts.
That’s because you can’t make your times when you house the ambulances in a fire station rather than a street corner without drastically increasing the number of units. That is why system status was created. It’s efficient and effective. Why do you think we don’t have cops sitting in police stations all around the city? There is simply too much work to do.
The city has put Fire Chief Smokey Dyer’s proposed move of more ambulance crews to 24-hour shifts on hold because of legal concerns. Meanwhile, emergency medical providers nationally are having new discussions about the quality of medical care provided by crews that work for 24-hour periods. Kansas City should have this kind of debate too before this notion advances.
There is a reason ambulance services around the nation quit running 24 hour shifts in busy metropolitan systems. It’s too dangerous. My service dropped the long-hour cars in our metro areas a long time ago. We run too many calls for that to be safe. I can’t imagine trying to do the same thing in much bigger city like KC. To make that work, they would have to add a bunch of units to the system, which would cost a ton of money. I thought this takeover was supposed to save the city money.
…. in an interview last week, Dyer dismissed the importance of meeting standards for ambulances, saying: “We just do the best we can each month.” He said “it’s not possible” to meet the council-mandated times with current resources.
Hmm, MAST didn’t seem to have a problem doing it. I think what he meant to say is: “It’s impossible to meet to the council-mandated times while running the service like a fire-department with the current resources”. It’s no surprise to me that he doesn’t understand the importance of response-time requirements, because up until a year ago, his department never had to meet them.
That’s EMS man, you meet the requirements or they find someone else who will.