• UCity Fire Department Average Ambulance Response Time: 4 minutes, 46 seconds
• Gateway’s Self-Reported Average Response Time: 3 minutes, 21 seconds
• University City's Dispatch Records Average Gateway Response Time: 5 Minutes, 26 Seconds
According to our City CAD (Computer Assisted Dispatch) data, the average response time for first 37 calls was over 2 minutes slower than the average response time provided by Gateway.
What does this mean since these Ambulance runs were the first 37 runs Gateway made, and gives them 3 months from the start to achieve response times of 4 minutes and 30 seconds? It means that
the self-reported numbers provided by Gateway are unreliable. Until Gateway can establish verifiable and accurately reported response times, we cannot trust their reports and we have no reliable measure of Gateway’s performance. At the very least, it is up to the Administration - and the Council - to monitor the ambulance response times, since this appears to be one of the primary measures of performance.
All of this comes on the heels of the Court ordered Agreement with the Firefighters Union that we would abide by
the Collective Bargaining Agreement passed by the Council in May 2015. This means that the City (among other
things) must have a minimum of 11 firefighters on duty each shift instead of the 7 or 8 firefighters the City was staffing prior to the court agreement. The City cannot count Gateway’s employees as meeting that staffing; Gateway is, after
all, an independent contractor, and Gateway’s employees are NOT City employees (see contract). The City’s $500K
cost-savings projections on outsourcing EMS were dependent upon a reduction of fire department personnel and daily staffing. That means that any savings that was anticipated by reducing the Fire Department Staffing does not exist AND we are foregoing $750,000 in ambulance-calls-generated revenue to Gateway to “pay” for outsourcing.
Outsourcing EMS has not saved the City any money and resulted in a loss of $750,000 in revenue for the City as
well as the loss of Ambulance Mutual Aid and higher costs for citizens - and in some, if not many cases -
longer response times. What have we gained by outsourcing our EMS? To verify whether or not we are getting a quality service - at least in terms of response times, we can and must monitor those response times and the
performance of Gateway Ambulance. If we don’t, how can we honestly expect to identify and remedy any issues of poor performance? If you consider the performance of various concrete contractors for sidewalk work and the recent debacle with the construction of the Ferguson Avenue Bridge, it appears that the City’s ability to remedy issues of non-performance by independent contractors is not impressive.
*Note: On November 10, 2015, I requested the data used by the Fire Department to generate the report provided by Mr. Pace above. To date, I have not received a response from the City Manager.