The Dual-Response EMS debacle
The present Dual-Response EMS System of firemen paramedics ($70 per hour for firemen, plus $110 per hour for Sunstar equals a total of $180 per hour) is unconscionable. The County’s statistics, and everyone who has called 911, know that the firemen always arrive first! It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure that the ambulances should be housed at the Fire House, instead of our County-contracted Sunstar ambulances idling and wasting gas at the local 711 stores. The firemen paramedics can stabilize a patient, and get the patient to the ER quicker. This terrible waste of money is not all that’s wasted-it’s crucial time, and that’s not my opinion that’s my EXPERIENCE with six 911 calls. After the firemen administer tests to the patient; EKG, glucose level, blood pressure, oxygen levels, etc., and stabilizing the patient, the firemen and patient have to wait for Sunstar. The firemen then relate all the patient’s test results, prescriptions, medical history, etc. to the Sunstar paramedics. If the consensus warrants the patient to go to the ER, Sunstar puts the patient in their ambulance and repeats the same tests, which wastes another 10-15 minutes before driving the patient to the ER. For this duplication and delay, Sunstar bills the patient $500-$700, which is split with the County. Let the firemen transporter charge the patient $500-$700 instead of Sunstar. Do we want this Dual-Response delay and redundancy for ourselves and our loved ones? A person can die minutes after a normal EKG. There is no reason to relax or delay the ride to the ER. An ambulance is not a substitute for the ER, and paramedics cannot determine what’s going on inside a patient. Do you want the ER doctor to say; ‘…sorry, if only the patient got here sooner the patient may not have suffered a stroke, an embolism, a heart attack, a lack of oxygen to the brain will make the patient a vegetable, or,…is dead’! Time is always of the essence, and I’m not talking about the sprained ankle syndrome!
   With two units in this Dual-Response EMS protocol assigned for one emergency, a scarcity of units is created for other 911 calls. Why is our County playing ‘Russian Roulette’ with our health and lives, which is ‘Malpractice’? We must stop the Latvala/Nehr LB07 Bill which will change the funding and allow the County Administrator LaSala, and the County Commissioners to cut the number of EMS firemen paramedics and their pay. Don’t let the County maintain the present status quo of a costly and delayed EMS response. Cut Sunstar, not the firemen. Let the firemen transport the patient to the ER which can better preserve the health and lives of our citizens first, and cut costs, secondly!”