Karolzak: Scottsdale ambulance contract raises service questions

On Monday, Dec. 4 there was an item on the Scottsdale City Council consent agenda that changes the EMS service delivery model for our city.

John Karolzak

Subsequent to testimony, it was removed and became a discussable agenda item. Unfortunately, there was little council discussion other than unanimous council approval. In essence, the new contract is the removal of 33 highly trained paramedics providing advanced life support from our city ambulances and replaced by basic life support providers. The fire chief has determined that a lower level of service is in the best interest of our city.

The chief stated, “we want to ensure there is a continuum of care so paramedics from the fire apparatus can take care of 9-1-1 callers from start to finish.”

I have researched this concept and have been unable to locate any factual data to support the assertion of improved patient outcomes. Further, he stated “we take care of one patient at a time.” Unfortunately, how does this affect the second and third patient in need of emergent medical care?

I listened to testimony from paramedics with tenure serving our city explain that this is a flawed system design. At times, the paramedic ambulances arrive on the scene before a fire apparatus. They stated that they provide immediate advanced life support interventions prior to the arrival of the fire apparatus. This will no longer be the case and problematic for citizens with life-threatening emergencies.

As a resident of the Windgate Subdivision in the city of Scottsdale and the father of three active boys who play sports in the city, this EMS system concerns me. I urge my neighbors and the entire city to take notice of this change.

Much like the DDC or Desert EDGE, we must stand up for what is right and not allow our quality of life be diminished.

In full disclosure, I am employed by American Medical Response the parent company of Life Line Ambulance. I know the facts and so should you.

Editor’s note: Mr. Karolzak is a resident of Scottsdale

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