FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Who should run the city’s ambulance service — the fire department or the company that’s been running it since the 80’s? Fire Chief Eric Lahey said this is all about response time. Three quarters of the time firefighters beat Three Rivers Ambulance Authority to a scene. TRAA said that’s exactly how it should be.
“We expect the Fire Department to beat us on scene 100% of the time,” Paramedics Plus President Ron Schwartz said.”They are designed to be the first responders. They respond to 8,000 calls a year. We respond to 40,000 calls a year.”
Schwartz is the president of TRAA’s contractor. He flew in from Texas to make the company’s case.
He pointed out TRAA’s accomplishments. TRAA is the only unit in the state to be accredited by both the Center of Excellence and Commission of Accreditation Ambulance Services. Plus it’s Indiana’s Advance Life Saving Provider of the Year.
“It amazes me it’s not being rewarded but challenged,” Schwartz said. “I don’t get it.”
Chief Lahey said it’s not about awards, it’s about time.
“It actually makes me happy they are admitting we arrive on the scene first,” Lahey said. “That’s the first step.”
Lahey said the number one motivation to change the model is to get ambulances to the scene quicker. Another motivation is money. Lahey said if the model passes in the first year the city could bring in a couple hundred thousand dollars.
He’s been critical the profit being made right now doesn’t stay in the area, but goes to Texas.
“I want to be very cautious about using the work profit because we want to put it back into the system,” Lahey said. “So it is income from the system, but we’re going to reinvest it back into the system. Now, it is a consideration [to implement the new model].”
“There is a profit that goes back to Tyler, Texas, but Tyler, Texas also provides support back here to Indiana to curb the expenses,” Schwartz said.
To take a look at the Fire Department’s business plan click here.