Las Vegas Review-Journal
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — With more than 100 private ambulance employees glaring at his back Wednesday, Las Vegas Fire Chief Willie McDonald told City Council members that he has changed the balance of lucrative hospital transports so his department will handle 50 percent of the calls.
McDonald’s goal is to eliminate the dual response system where medical calls are answered by both the Fire Department and private ambulances, with only one getting to bill for transporting a patient to the hospital. He told the council it’s a waste of resources to have both respond unless there’s a critical need. By eliminating the dual response method, he said “You don’t send ’em when you don’t need ’em.”
His report sparked some opposition from Councilmen Ricki Barlow and Bob Beers while other council members kept their opinions to themselves. When McDonald left the chambers, he was surrounded by some angry American Medical Response workers fearful of losing their jobs under his new plan. After media interviews, he took questions from the paramedics and emergency medical technicians, who challenged his contention that firefighters were better trained and faster on the scene.