Perspectives: Making sense of the ambulance war

OPINION – I have never taken a ride in an ambulance, which I am grateful for, to say the least. Yet, if I did, I realize that my very life could depend on the trained individuals that come to my rescue. The recent debate over which ambulance company should serve this region, is a discussion worth having, namely because it affects every single one of us regardless of age, gender or race.

Dixie Ambulance has been serving our area for almost 30 years. Complaint free, and apparently, “strike free” of employees seeking higher salaries from the company, Dixie Ambulance has demonstrated that they are quite possibly doing a great job.

Gold Cross Ambulance Services are seeking to take over, not buy out, Dixie Ambulance’s service contract to provide the 911 services. Vying to take over the contract, Gold Cross is confident that they can offer better services than Dixie Ambulance for the same state-regulated prices. They claim they can offer, “more bang for the buck.”

In 2006, Gold Cross sued Salt Lake City in an attempt to keep their sole contract to provide service after a careful vetting process determined that the competitor, Southwest Ambulance Service, was found to give better overall services and have better overall training than Gold Cross. Gold Cross lost their coveted contract to Southwest.

If Gold Cross offered great quality and more efficiency for the price, why did it lose the contract to Southwest Ambulance Services and why do they think they can offer better services than what Dixie Ambulance is providing currently?

Gold Cross claims that they can offer our area more; among which would be a two-man paramedic team at all times, not just when necessary as Dixie provides – even though having a two-man paramedic team has not proven to provide more quality of care. Lawyers for Gold Cross are also asserting that Dixie Ambulance has taken far too much in profit while employees are not being compensated enough. The last time I checked, business owners do tend to take most of the profit because they incur great risk with their investment dollars and employees are paid what they agree to and usually not more than that. This happens every day in America. The bottom line is, if Dixie Ambulance employees do not like their compensation, they can strike; it is an option but that has not happened.

I am in full support of free enterprise. Competition is healthy and can increase productivity when businesses have to vie for the dollar from the public.  Monopolies can create laziness in striving to deliver superior services to those they serve.  Nevertheless, in this region, there is only room or business enough for one ambulance service; so a monopoly is mandated.  We, the citizens, are left to hope that the ambulance company that is chosen to perform the work is providing the very best possible service.

So far, there has been no substantial evidence that Dixie Ambulance has not offered great quality care and great services.

This debate is not about public vs. private service providers; both Dixie and Gold Cross are private companies. The debate centers around which company can meet the needs of the community they serve.

If Dixie Ambulance had numerous lawsuits or complaints, or if they did not offer great response times or superbly trained employees, I would agree that it was time for a new company to be given a chance to outshine them and win the contract.

As a citizen, if I know that Utah Emergency Services was holding Dixie Ambulance to a very high standard and Dixie Ambulance was meeting the high bar year after year, then by all means, Dixie Ambulance should be allowed to retain the service contract and continue to provide the 911 services to our community. The administration of Dixie Ambulance and its employees have a stake in this community.

This battle of the ambulance companies will only help to bring more transparency to an industry that should continuously strive to raise the bar when competition cannot directly ensure those results.

This debate and quest for a takeover has been a healthy wakeup call for all of us.

Gold Cross’s desire to take over the service has made the public more aware of what kind of service expectations we should have of our ambulatory services and it was a wakeup call for our city leaders to demand the very best from private industries that stand to profit through the advantage of being a monopoly.

Related posts

Ambulance war scapegoat? St. George Dispatch responds to hearing testimony

Ambulance war: Broken system, dispatch delays? Decision pending

Ambulance war: Contest for territory raises solvency, staffing issues at hearing

Public support for Dixie Ambulance floods hearing

Public hearing to discuss ambulance service in St. George; Dixie Ambulance receives negative audit

Dixie Ambulance Voices its Opinion on Gold Cross’ Application; Gold Cross Says System is Broken

Letter to the Editor: Consider the Cost

Gold Cross Could Replace Dixie Ambulance if Application is Approved

Gold Cross Submits Application to Provide 911 Ambulance Services in St. George

 

Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are hers and not representative of St. George News.

Email: kated@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

 

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20 Comments

  • Paraminnick December 30, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Opinion article as this article is, is not based on facts. The Gold Cross lawsuit against Salt Lake City to my understanding was based on the fact that the Southwest Ambulance contract was flawed. We now know it was when Southwest Ambulance laid off every employee 3 days before Christmas and left town. Gold Cross is once again serving the citizens of Salt Lake City. Then to say more Paramedics has not proven to provide a higher quality care. Are you serious. More paramedics on calls will not only provide better care but will save lives. Gold Cross Ambulance has also never had a “strike”, why would we when we are paid at the national standard and get medical benefits, dental benefits, life insurance and a company contributed 401k retirement plan. Dixie ambulance employees take people to the hospital each day having serious medical or trauma problems when they themselves have no medical coverage provided by their employer. This is not a business I would want in my town and as a Gold Cross employee and a part time St George resident I can assure you it can be done better. Dixie employees will be absorbed into a system that will value them and compensate them. Not just with money but with the most modern tools and training. They will better be able to provide for their families and take their wives, husbands and children to the Hospital in their time of need without the worries they have now. The employees of Dixie Ambulance have done a wonderful job with what they have been given to work with. Now lets give them more and really let them shine. It’s time for a change that will benefit everybody in St George.

  • Markus December 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Wow what an article. Do you know anything about Dixie Ambulance. They care nothing about their medics. They rely on part-time / hobby medics. Sadly the medics have to find other full time jobs. Do you think that attracts the best? Do you want someone coming to save your child that makes less than a McDonald’s server or someone who makes a decent wage and has benefits? Do you want someone who has to find and often pay for their own training? Do you really think an at will worker will strike? They will be fired on the spot and replaced. I know of dozens of people who have left to Nevada from Dixie Ambulance because they could not afford to work there. Southern Utah is so afraid of change. . Why did you not speak out against the new state of the art hospital? Why didn’t you speak out against the medical helicopter coming to St. George? When change is for the better support it. If change was not positive we would still be smaller than Cedar City with only Dick’s Cafe and Christensen’s

  • Pamala Englert December 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    “Paraminnick,

    Even in comments a person should be determined that they will only share what is truth and facts. I understand that Gold Cross is your employer and that you would want to defend them. I applaud you for, not just being a Paramedic; a person who truly cares about saving lives, but also for your repeated attempts to be a loyal employee, by defending Gold Cross, your employer. As a long-time Business Consultant, I appreciate seeing displays of employee loyalty, rather than the display of negativity towards one’s own employer. That being said, and for no other reason than to share truth, I would like to clarify a couple of points made within your comment.

    There has never been an issue in our community about not having enough paramedics to serve our area with our existing provider, so to say that Gold Cross can provide more paramedics than Dixie Ambulance truly does not apply. This opinion piece merely states that if Dixie Ambulance Services employees are displeased with their wages, they would have the option to “strike,” and they have not done so.

    For you to say, “Dixie ambulance employees take people to the hospital each day having serious medical or trauma problems when they themselves have no medical coverage provided by their employer,” is also not an issue relative to which ambulance services provider should serve our community. Wage and benefit issues are between employers and their employees; not something to be decided by you, me, any community member and especially not a competitor who is seeking the territory served by Dixie Ambulance Services.

    For you to consistently make comments about how much better Gold Cross would be as a provider is your opinion, not a fact. I have never read a comment from a Dixie Ambulance Services employee on any of these “ambulance war” stories which was indicative of the fact that employees are displeased with their wages and benefits. I have read comments relating to the fact that “most of them are not serving as EMT’s, etc., for the wage, as much as for their desire to serve community in the capacity they do,” which is very noble in my opinion. It is not up to you or anybody to “assure” us as a community that “Gold Cross can do it better.” That is not how these services are mandated. It is your very employer in Gold Cross which paid lobbyists on Capitol Hill to work to have the law changed in the state of Utah in order to avoid the problem of monopolies, at least as it relates to inter facility transport, the most profitable segment of any ambulance service business.

    Your employer also contributed heavily to the campaigns of various state legislators who lobbied for the changes to those state laws. Once the law was passed in the state of Utah, it opened the door for your employer to bid against Southwest Ambulance for the provision of inter facility transport in Salt Lake City based hospitals. Southwest Ambulance, after losing the most profitable segment of their business to your employer, then struggled financially and had no choice but to close its doors, and yes, it is very sad but true, they had to do this right before Christmas of that particular year. The owners of Southwest Ambulance were devastated to be forced into this decision. It was not for their desire to hurt their employees and the very families of those same employees. They had no choice and it is your employer who injured them.

    Once Southwest lost the inter facility transport business, because your employer underbid them, they simply could not afford to only operate as providers of 911 emergency transport services, a segment of the business which often can operate at a financial loss. Your employer of Gold Cross did this very same thing to our community’s provider. They underbid inter facility transport services to our local hospital and took away the contract for inter facility transport, which negatively impacted the financial condition of Dixie Ambulance Services. Dixie Ambulance still made it work and did not make a choice to close its doors. They could very simply have made that decision, but they did not and I applaud them for caring enough about their employees, that they would fight to maintain the business they had run successfully, with an outstanding performance record, meeting every state requirement, for over 30 years. I, very similarly to the writer of this opinion piece, am a believer in free enterprise. I also am not in favor of monopolies. That being said, The writer of this opinion piece makes several valid and good points, and in a fair and balanced way.

    Prior to Gold Cross, your employer, taking away the inter facility transport segment of Southwest’s business, they submitted a bid to Salt Lake City to offer the 911 emergency transport services. Salt Lake City rejected their bid and instead chose Southwest Ambulance as its provider. Not only did your employer then seek to injure Southwest by taking away its inter facility transport segment of the business, but they also then filed a lawsuit against Salt Lake City when they were not selected as its 911 service provider. In that lawsuit, they accused Salt Lake City of damaging them in the very same ways Gold Cross has now damaged Dixie Ambulance Services, a bit hypocritical in my opinion. Your employer lost that lawsuit.

    Your employer did the same thing in West Valley City, again even filing a lawsuit against that city after they did not get the 911 transport service contract. They lost that lawsuit as well.

    Now our community is experiencing the same wrath and path of destruction your employer has a pattern of creating. I am saddened by the fact that it has divided our beautiful and peaceful community. I can clearly see the same pattern here as I have found in both the Salt Lake City case and the West Valley City cases. Your employer only is licensed as a 911 intermediate level service provider in one place in Utah and that is Vernal. (very small) Your employer has been successful to underbid inter facility transport providers at many hospitals, etc., and that is the bulk of its business in the state of Utah.

    Salt Lake City and West Valley City did not choose them as the 911 services provider, so they seek now to pluck the business from the prime territory of St. George, Utah. Before they made, in a devious, politically “back door” manner, their attempt to gain the 911 service contract from St. George, they first did what they have a pattern of doing. They went after the inter facility transport business of our local hospital. Their next step, as was the case also in Salt Lake City and West Valley City, was for them to pay lobbyists, and continue making contributions to the campaigns of state legislators who then would “take up their cause.”

    Unfortunately for the constituents of at least one of our city leaders and one of our state leaders, the “back door” political maneuvering of your employer was successful, in that it opened the door for your employer to come to our community and begin a new path of destruction. They first seek to divide and then conquer and it is sad but they have accomplished just that. They took away the inter facility transport business of our provider. I will not say anything negative about that for believing in free enterprise and the bidding system to avoid monopolies; however, it is always your employer’s first step in their takeover plans in the cities they negatively impact.

    Their next step was to get some politicians to “side with them.” In other of my comments and other information I have in my possession, which is publicly available to anybody if they know how to search for it, some having to be paid for, I feel confident that I could prove the politician’s motive for doing so. (not impressive) Once they had the state level political support, your employer then in a “back door” political way, sought to gain the city level support, meeting with one of our city council members and our city’s attorney outside of council chambers and in fact at a local restaurant. This meeting was set up by the involved state legislator.

    At that meeting, it was outlined to our city leader, by your employer, that Dixie Ambulance Services was not performing well for our community. Remember, that was a stated opinion by Gold Cross President, Mike Moffitt, the competitor of Dixie Ambulance who was seeking this territory. That should be very alarming for all business owners in our community, for in hearing testimony, it was revealed that in that same meeting, our city leader requested of Gold Cross President, Mike Moffitt, to perform the review of the services provided by Dixie Ambulance Services.

    There would be no way, due to the way the law currently mandates, for your employer to gain the 911 services contract from the City of St. George, without first proving that Dixie Ambulance Services was not performing well for our community. State law in Utah mandates that a political subdivision may not issue an RFP without first having proof that their current provider is not performing to very strict, state mandated standards.

    Though there was not one official complaint on record for DAS, in over 30 years of operation, our city leader made a poor and uninformed choice. That action by our city leader, requesting Mike Moffitt to perform that study, is no different in my opinion than inviting a competitor, not even from our community, to review any of our local businesses in a takeover attempt.

    That city leader should have been aware of the truth and facts before making any decision as that and even then, it should be made by our council as a whole, or at least with their knowledge and input. It is a “no-brainer” that the final report would be negative toward our existing provider. Certainly your employer who is seeking this territory would not write a report displaying results favorable to the very company it was seeking to destroy in a takeover bid.

    Then our city, who already under Utah state law, has the right to make their own decision about who they want to serve our community, irresponsibly turned over their right to make the decision to the state agency of the Bureau of Emergency Management Services and claimed in media reports it was only because they felt that same agency “was more qualified to make the decision because it is what they know best.”

    In my opinion, that is a dangerous precedent to establish. We as citizens are fighting each day to retain the rights granted to us by our constitution, seemingly losing them fast. Now we must begin to worry that our own city is giving away its power to the state? That is alarming. Truly it will not be long before the federal government has even more control. The more power we give to our states, the more power we are potentially leaving available for the federal government to grasp.

    To get back to topic, the actions of your employer, our own city government and our own state legislator have been very damaging to us as citizens and we have every right to be concerned. It is the only reason I fight so hard to expose what is the truth. This situation has long been a heated topic on Capitol Hill and that information is also publicly available. I am not defending Dixie Ambulance Services when I speak out, although I do think it is terrible that they must now fight for their right to even stay in business after more than 30 years of providing our community with superior service.

    Now the employees of Dixie Ambulance also face the potential consequences which were forced upon the employees of Southwest Ambulance just days before Christmas in what was a devastating blow. They lost their jobs; jobs they loved; jobs which provided the income to feed their families. How does Gold Cross handle that situation? They assure that their employees continually are reassuring the employees of our own Dixie Ambulance “don’t worry, Gold Cross will hire you when this is all over and they have successfully destroyed your employer. Not only that, but we will pay you more in wages and give you better benefits.” If I was an employee of Dixie Ambulance Services and had all the knowledge about your employer I have right now, I would run as far away from Gold Cross as I could.

    Those employees have repeatedly stated that many of them work for Dixie Ambulance Services because they want to serve our community. They are compassionate and I absolutely believe them. In fact I feel that is the truth about most people who serve anywhere as a paramedic, EMT, Dispatcher, EMS worker or otherwise, regardless of the company for whom they work.

    Now, they must all stand together awaiting announcement of their fate. What will it be? Who knows – I guess we will all find out soon enough, but not because our city leaders are doing their jobs, making decisions in the best interest of the very people, their constituents, who depend on them to make choices which are in our best interests. No, that decision about the fate of all those employees now rests with the Bureau of Emergency Management Services. It is a decision that will partially be made through process by the EMS Committee of that same state agency. Oh, and by the way, your employer, Mike Moffitt, has that base covered as well. He sits on the board of the EMS Committee and is involved in making those decisions.

    Your employer is a monopoly. Your employer is devious and your employer is a “back door” maneuver participating corporation which causes destruction throughout the state of Utah. Through its deep pockets, your employer has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbyists and to the campaigns of politicians to accomplish its destruction.

    I feel sorry for you. I truly do, for I can tell you are a Paramedic for the right reasons, because you care. I have been controlled before by a person whom I once believed was one of the best people I ever knew. That person turned out to be evil, capable of inflicting great harm. I am still healing from the trauma induced by that person. I do not say these things for any other reason but to help you at least learn to think independently. Your thoughts, especially about for whom you work, if you care about working for honest and good people, should be based also on what is truth. If you will take the time to research the true history, and I can tell you haven’t because of what you say in your comment about Southwest Ambulance, you will be able to verify everything I say as truth. You will also, if you want to know the truth, find a great deal more. Then if you are still comfortable, feeling as you have confirmed the truth and independently have made a decision that your employer has done no wrong, then that is fine. I still admire your service and am grateful for you and all others in your field, no matter your employer.

    But at least I would hope you would discontinue assisting your employer in dividing our community. Our community was fine, receiving outstanding ambulance services. Nobody was complaining, not even the employees of Dixie Ambulance Services, for over 30 years. Nobody was seeking another provider. Nobody in our community, even the Emergency Room Physicians who save lives every day in our community, was worried that we were not in good hands with Dixie Ambulance Services.

    Now, and only because of the destructive behavior patterns of your employer, our Dispatchers are upset and angry with Dixie Ambulance Services. It is absolutely critical for our Dispatchers and our ambulance provider to work harmoniously each day and your employer has created a rift.

    I do not blame the Dispatchers. They do a fine job. They should not be expected to understand how hard this whole situation must be for those who have been wrongfully attacked and forced to defend their livelihood at enormous legal costs, further deteriorating the financial condition of their business. The Dispatchers should not be expected to understand all the facts which made it necessary for Dixie Ambulance Services to fight for its mere survival.

    They were not being made “scapegoats,” as they believe, and as is a normal human reaction to those defensive emotions they should not have been forced to feel The testimony in the hearing pertaining to DAS’ defense of allegations made by your employer, that it did not respond in time on certain calls should never have been put into the hands of those Dispatchers. That alone is great cause for concern. Not just that somebody made it possible for that testimony to be seen, putting those Dispatchers unfairly in a position to be emotional and defensive. Worse is that it created a rift and discourse between parties who must have good communication and relationships in order to best serve our community.

    I was once the wife of a Life Flight pilot. There was written into my husband’s employment contract specific terminology about things they were prohibited from doing. This language was intended to prevent dangerous rifts and dangerous circumstances between Life Flight Pilots, on board Nurses, Dispatchers and others who must rely on good communication to save lives. The company for which my husband was employed assured they did everything to avoid these circumstances, which is the right thing, for it was their job to serve people who are unfortunate and find themselves in life threatening emergencies.

    Those precious seconds which could be wasted for emotions getting in the way, or communication issues, could truly be the difference between life and death, and as a Paramedic, I know you understand what I am saying. Even our own City Manager was quoted in a story recently and it was clearly a remark aimed toward DAS, “that he did not appreciate any entities which would make disparaging remarks about the city employed Dispatchers.” (paraphrased) And so sadly, even a highly regarded Physician in our community was injured. In any legal situation people must be called to testify and even participate in depositions. It is an uncomfortable position, but can not be avoided.

    Clearly, now there are signs that the communication problems are out of control and that does in fact affect the safety of our community. I hope and pray our city leaders will do what they should have done in the first place. I hope and pray they will recognize that they made a mistake to give away its power; that they made a mistake to participate in that particular type of meeting with Mike Moffitt; that they made a mistake to allow a state legislator to make “back door” introductions, introducing a competitor from another area who clearly has a pattern of causing destruction in other cities.

    Our city leaders did not do their homework and what they did can be accurately termed as “knee-jerk” in terms of how they reacted to allegations by a competitor from another area that our community was not being served well.

    It is not too late to repair this damage. Communication issues between Dixie Ambulance Services, our city leaders and our Dispatch Center may be resolved in meetings as it should never have reached this point. Proactive decisions made properly by city leaders would have prevented this from occurring.

    Whenever we as citizens allow “back door” political maneuvers; whenever we are not paying attention to what happens around us and whenever we do not stand up to insist that it is corrected, there are consequences. We now are facing some of those consequences and other potential consequences and I for one, will not sit back and be apathetic.

    I can speak out and link to facts but if nobody cares enough to listen, then at least I can look in the mirror each morning and know that I did the right thing for the right reasons and before it was too late. We should all care as much. Thank you for “listening,” and please do not become inflamed or upset. It is not my intention to debate and especially argue. I will participate in civil discussion only, not name-calling or angry exchanges.

    Please allow our community to heal before even one life would be lost. You can work for you employer and perform fine and noble service as a Paramedic, without participating in these injurious actions. And if you decide to continue participating, I hope you at least will take the time to conduct research and sort facts from fiction.

    Lastly, I hope you are able to at least tell by my comment that I only speak out because I am concerned and because I want to be a responsible person who cares enough about public safety that I would stand up and speak out when it is the right thing to do. Believe me, and I feel as your name is Craig, I normally am not a person who participates in discussion about anything remotely political on social media or any public forum. It is not because I am weak, but admittedly, I am not always strong and when attacked in cruel ways in forums as these, that manifests as dangerous mental and physical symptoms for me and I end up being sick for long periods and even hospitalized. At times I even must depend on emergency intervention and I NEED to believe always that I am safe.

    I am beginning to feel unsafe because I am intelligent and can clearly see how poorly this issue has been handled by the media, by our city leaders, and by our state legislators. This truly, as once reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, is an issue which should be a catalyst for ethics reform on Capitol Hill. Mostly, because I responsibly have done my research (being an experienced professional researcher by trade), I am concerned and even frightened by the prospect that your employer may be successful in causing destruction in our community.

    As a Business Consultant for over 25 years, I would consider that to be very sad for everybody associated with a company that has served our community well for over 30 years. As a person who sometimes must rely upon ambulance transport, I would be worried to be in a position to rely upon a company with the history of Gold Cross Ambulance Services. I do not mean that remark in any way to be directed toward any paramedic, EMT, EMS personnel of Gold Cross, only the company and its leaders.

    In my life, I have found people who are motivated by greed, as is clearly evident by your employer’s history, often make decisions for the wrong reasons, with no regard or concern for the people who are hurt in the process. My final hope and prayer is that we as a community do not find ourselves forced unethically into the position of being served by Gold Cross Ambulance for the provision of emergency transport ambulance services. Respectfully and truthfully, ~Pamala Englert

    • Tyler December 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      Someone is off their medication today!

    • In My Baby's Arms December 31, 2012 at 1:16 am

      Please consider the platform in which you are on before you respond with your Great Wall of China. Perhaps you realize that MLA writing standards exist to help writers achieve and portray a point without disinteresting readers. In this case, you may have some okay points in that mess somewhere, but NO ONE will read that headache.

    • Matthew Sevald December 31, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      Pamala, I almost missed these statements of yours in that ginormous post, but because “I am as constant as the northern star” I persevered through your wall of text and found these. I am only interested in speaking on the matters of Dispatch. I have no official preference as to who wins the legal battle and gets the ambulance authorization. My comments are my own, with the occasional Shakespeare thrown in – though you haven’t heard Shakespeare until you’ve heard it in the original Klingon.
      .
      Quote 1: “Now, and only because of the destructive behavior patterns of your employer, our Dispatchers are upset and angry with Dixie Ambulance Services. It is absolutely critical for our Dispatchers and our ambulance provider to work harmoniously each day and your employer has created a rift.”
      .
      Dispatchers continue to (and have never ceased to) work harmoniously with Dixie Ambulance, and every other agency we work with, daily. In fact, for Christmas, DAS brought us some boxes of chocolate to share in the Center, which I hear from those who partook were delicious. We’re bestest happy friends. I cannot speak for others, but I myself am not angry with Dixie Ambulance or its employees at all. I am also not angry with Tony Randall or Tom Kulhmann. “Tickle us, do we not laugh? Prick us, do we not bleed? Wrong us, shall we not revenge?” Indeed we shall and my center Directors offered truthful accounts of Dispatch’s performance and capabilities based on evidence and I feel that honor has been satisfied through the wonderful article posted by STGnews.
      .
      Quote 2: “I do not blame the Dispatchers. They do a fine job. They should not be expected to understand how hard this whole situation must be for those who have been wrongfully attacked and forced to defend their livelihood at enormous legal costs, further deteriorating the financial condition of their business. The Dispatchers should not be expected to understand all the facts which made it necessary for Dixie Ambulance Services to fight for its mere survival.”
      .
      While I appreciate your comment on our quality of work, you are correct to not be blaming us – but not because we’re the mewling infants who should shut up and mind their business when grown folks are talking as it would appear you take us for. You should not be blaming us because we have done nothing wrong. Regardless of whether or not there are “backdoor politics” going on as you claim, and regardless of whether or not DAS has not had officially documented complaints, and regardless of whether or not the way things are going down is the ‘right’ way to do it (all of these are separate arguments to be had in their own place individually so as not to appear jumbled and incoherent, mind you) Dispatch doesn’t need to understand why others would make untrue statements about our services. All we really need to understand though is that falsehoods were spoken and to make sure that the true version of events is made clear for all to see – and that is exactly what Dispatch did, well within its rights. False is false and regardless of the preceived facts or rationale behind making these statements, to make excuses that false statements are acceptable because the speaker was under some sort of duress is a case of the special pleading logical fallacy. It is and always will be wrong, without question.
      .
      Quote 3: “They were not being made “scapegoats,” as they believe, and as is a normal human reaction to those defensive emotions they should not have been forced to feel The testimony in the hearing pertaining to DAS’ defense of allegations made by your employer, that it did not respond in time on certain calls should never have been put into the hands of those Dispatchers. That alone is great cause for concern. Not just that somebody made it possible for that testimony to be seen, putting those Dispatchers unfairly in a position to be emotional and defensive. Worse is that it created a rift and discourse between parties who must have good communication and relationships in order to best serve our community.”
      .
      If not ‘scapegoat’, what do you call someone who is assigned blame incorrectly? Even assuming that Tony Randall and Tom Kuhlmann’s comments were accidental or taken out of context (I don’t know their mindset and am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because that’s just the kind of guy I am), blame was incorrectly assigned to Dispatch and promptly corrected with evidence by our Center Directors. You are right in that we shouldn’t have been exposed to these things – but only because the comments shouldn’t have been made in the first place by virtue of the fact that they were baseless and untrue!
      .
      And as for ‘learning’ about units allegedly not responding on time to calls, do you have any inkling of how a Dispatch center operates? Regardless of the parties or circumstances, every single dispatcher on shift knows instantly the whereabouts and timeliness of units in the field. Information is passed along in a debriefing at shift change and the habits of personnel/units are quickly recognized by all Dispatchers due to the units’ own operations. Add to that normal office talk and you have a situation where Dispatch learning about this information isn’t a surprise – we know it before the public or the hearings know it, which is to say we know who is and isn’t where and when “in real time” – a fascinating concept isn’t it? as that is in our job description. Contrary to your assertions, Pamala, Gold Cross didn’t put us “in a position”. Tony and Tom’s choice of comments and our daily experiences with every unit in the county did. Your concern for our “emotional defensiveness” over having this information “sprung” on us is misguided, unwarranted, and only furthers the weakness of your argument because it is the logical fallacy of appealing to emotion.
      .
      Again, I’m not showing favoritism or attempting to persuade anyone as to who should be the ambulance provider in this county. I am only responding to the multitude of erroneous statements you’ve made, Pamala, in regards to Dispatch – a job I love and am inclined to protect fiercely, yet honestly. There is no rift between agencies; Dispatchers are already ahead of the power curve when it comes to who’s doing what, where, and when and we are emotionally stable enough to be able to handle other adults speaking about us, so there’s no need for you to don the white armor and come charging to our Quixotic rescue.
      .
      You of course are free to continue writing about Dispatch, but I would hope you will decide to refrain from comments until you have your facts right. I am more than willing to make corrections here, but your prodigious writing ensures it is a Herculean effort.
      .
      Respectfully, and happy New Year.

  • Pamala Englert December 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    In reading again my comment, I need to make a correction of an unintentional omission, in order for my post to be complete TRUTH. Gold Cross Ambulance, as I state in my post, has what is termed as an intermediate 911 license in Vernal and also Salt Lake City. That means they are licensed to practice Intermediate skills, not Paramedic skills in those cities. The Salt Lake City Fire Department provides the Paramedic care and response for their city, not Gold Cross Ambulance. In my opinion, for our city officials to listen to Gold Cross as they continually state that they can or will provide better care in our area when their license situation is as what is stated here, we are taking risks to believe them, for there is no historical record for them of that level of service for us to evaluate. So to trade the services of a 30+ year outstanding provider of emergency transport services in our community for the services of a provider we can not even evaluate and whom is known to participate in “back door” political maneuvering, is a risk to our public safety. Inter facility transport services are typically provided to medically stable patients being transported from one facility to another. Inter facility care and Paramedic level care are completely different. There is even on record the fact that Gold Cross, after the Salt Lake City Fire Department Chief, implored them not to, applied for a different licensing level in Salt Lake City, for a reason other than the care or concern of the very patients who would be transported in emergency circumstances. I will be sharing that public record.

    • Paraminnick December 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Historical records will show that Gold Cross Ambulance was one of the first 2 agencies in the state to get 911 paramedic level license. As far as “medically stable” goes that only applies to what level of service is provided at that facility. So a heart attack victim at a care center is not stable, a heart attack patient in a ER with no cardiac cath lab is not stable, a patient who has a skull fracture from a fall at a skilled nursing facility is not stable. The real difference between 911 paramedic service and inter-facilty service is the phone number that is dialed.

  • Paraminnick December 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Pamela I’m not going to read your novel. The reason is it is filled with half truths by somebody who does not understand how EMS works in Utah. Southwest NEVER held a inter facility license. You have seen former Dixie Ambulance employees state that they are tired of seeing good paramedics leave for better paying jobs elsewhere. They don’t strike out of fear of retaliation of their employer. They don’t have benefits because their employer does not provide them. Your argumants of “it’s good enough” may be fine with the number of fabulous freddy’s in town but anybody with common sense would welcome a company who wants to offer more ambulances, more paramedics, with newer equipment and employees who are fairly compensated. You are already paying the same price for ambulance transport for 1 paramedic when the rest of the state gets 2 on every call. I don’t doubt that DAS does not contribute to anybodies campaign. They may not enjoy making these donations. I know I personally contribute money as I cherish our democratic process and money is required to make it work. To state that you know that they are buying votes is an outright lie, and shows only that in your paranoid state you believe that people even offer their votes for sale. You will sleep better when you realize that people are generally good, that they are generally honest and this includes most elected officials and even my employer Gold Cross Ambulance, who spends a lot of their money shaping EMS in Utah because just like medicine anywhere it is always evolving. They do this in behalf of every EMS agency that can’t afford to , and I’m sure DAS has benefited from the hard work of Gold Cross Ambulance. The current system has the chance to be upgraded and it boggles my mind that anybody would argue to stop this.

  • Ron C. de Weijze December 31, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I am not at all against “novel size” posts, when they are full of falsifiable statements and therefore show how vulnerable the writer dares to be or must be to get Truth back into politics (ethics). Just prove one statement false or even half true, then you win, but do so in context and give the other a chance to respond to that. And please do not seek to destroy each other but to seek independent confirmation so that we may all benefit. BTW, if you cannot prove anything wrong, then she wins. And that is apart from commending her for standing up for the community, again, vulnerably not anonymously.

  • Local EMS Provider December 31, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Pamela Englert- As interstingly as your comments sound, they are not whole heartedly the truth. It is easily displayed that you do not have all your facts straight. As an EMS provider for more than one agency down here for over 5 years you do not clearly understand the EMS world as Paraminnick states. No I don’t work for Gold Cross, but they did not underbid Dixie Ambulance for the inter-facility transports down here at all, the reason they lost the inter-facility transports is completely their own fault, and nobody else’s. As well as I believe that anybody with common sense would agree with me that two paramedics are better than one, and that could more than likely be proven if needs be.

    • Pamala Englert December 31, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Local EMS Provider,

      Thank you for your service within our community.

  • George Lopez December 31, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Pamela,as a former DAS employee. I can assure you that there has not been happy employees for the last 30 years at DAS. I can’t tell you how many great Paramedics and EMT’s have moved on due to the poor treatment and ridiculous wages that are offered. In the 11 years that I worked at DAS, my wages went from 5.15 hr to 7.50 hr. 11 years ! That is a FACT. I made the decision to move on, in order to save the passion I have for EMS. There are many things that you cannot see, and will never see, unless you have been employed with DAS. Equipment that does not function correctly, Ambulances that are falling apart, with 100,000 miles +, being short equipment regularly, and having to take other departments equipment in order to function. Getting screamed at for complaining about 110 degrees outside and an AC unit that will not cool off the Ambulance. These are all FACTS ! been there and done it. The reason that I didn’t strike or file a complaint, I can work at BK and be given health benefits, and higher wages. You loose nothing to walk away, I worry about my friends who are still employed currently. Knowing that they are getting older, and they have nothing to show for the many years of service. Also, your comment on the hospital contract being taken by GC because, they underbid DAS. Not True ! not at all, you better check your facts, The hospital wanted to work with DAS originally, DAS refused to work out any kind of mutual agreement. It would be under the terms set by DAS, not what would work to the benefit of both parties. At that time, DAS also threatened to increase the costs for the hospital. Hmmm, I guess that little bit of information has not been shared by any managers or owners at DAS. I wonder why ?

    • Pamala Englert December 31, 2012 at 11:24 am

      George,

      There is nothing in any of my comments stating anything about happy vs. unhappy employees. My comments have never been about wages, benefits, equipment or anything provided by Dixie Ambulance Services or Gold Cross Services. In fact, I have clearly stated more than once that those issues should only be between employers and employees. You were unhappy with your wages and other employment issues, so you are no longer an employee there. That is your right and decision, as it is with any employee of any company. I know of very few companies where 100% of its employees would state that they are happy with their wages or benefits, or any employment related issue. It has not been long since I completed my latest project as a Business Consultant. In that company, there were many complaints by employees about wages, benefits and even the way they were treated by their employer. One employee complained that their employer “yelled at them nearly every morning which ruined the rest of their work day.” Do you want to know how those issues were resolved? Through communication and teamwork. Period. How many employees actually ended up leaving. None.

      If any employment factors would ever be a reason a state legislator would become involved to introduce a competitor, especially from a different geographic area, or a city council member would participate in a takeover bid, then we are all in very serious trouble. I doubt you will find many or any business owners who would find it to be even close to being acceptable.

      I know very well two city employees who frequently complain about their wages, and even the way they are treated. My answer to them whenever they bring it up is the same. If you are unhappy with your current employment situation, then it is up to you to communicate with your employer to seek a resolution. If it can not be resolved, then it is up to you to decide whether you will remain at your job or find another one. Period. Using your own words relative to leaving any job, “you lose nothing to walk away,” that is a great way to summarize the employee/employer issue. If what you say is true, then it seems to me that every employee of every company has that right and may exercise it at any time.

      As for the inter facility transport issue, I clearly have stated that it is even historically accurate that Gold Cross has underbid companies. Again, as I have mentioned many times before, I am a believer in free enterprise and competitive environments and disapprove of monopolies. When competitors vie for contracts, it is up to each of them to determine the terms they offer. If they lose a contract to a competitor, that is a part of what free enterprise is all about. It is simply business.

      • Paraminnick December 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm

        You can’t just put the words “historically accurate” in front of any sentence to make it real. Gold Cross has never underbid any other company ever. They have been underbid but have never underbid anybody. Second what is wrong about under bidding another company. Goverments put out RFP’s every day and they pick the lowest bidder. This is how goverment works.

        • Pamala Englert December 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm

          If you would read only two words further, you would have seen “I am a believer in free enterprise and competitive environments and disapprove of monopolies. When competitors vie for contracts, it is up to each of them to determine the terms they offer. If they lose a contract to a competitor, that is a part of what free enterprise is all about. It is simply business.”

          As for those who would refer to themselves as “Bandit the Monkey,” “hahaha,” and “In My Baby’s Arms,” I simply do not have a desire, nor the time to respond to your cloaked viciousness.

  • Bandit the monkey December 31, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Pamela, I wish I could pull you out of your world of cloak and dagger and conspiracy theories. Your Rantings are just that at best and half truths. You have no idea what you are talking about. Two paramedics are better than one, simple math. GC isn’t this evil monopoly you think they are. Good for them for being proactive and lobbying the politicians. It shows they care Bout their employees and livlyhood. DAD has missed the boat if they haven’t. Maybe if you tone down the length of you posts people will read and understand them. GC hasn’t underbid or backdoored anyone. DAS has lost their contracts on their own. And I can guarantee you southwest did not give a crap about their employees when they left. They were not compassionate or caring. They cut and ran plain and simple.

  • Bandit the monkey December 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Pamela, you can’t say you are for free enterprise and then in the next sentence condemn GC for trying to get the St. George contract. That’s part of free enterprise. I have run into and worked with DAS paramedics and the compensation they get is insulting. Ask them, they will tell you. Im curious though how is having 3 ambulances with one paramedic and one EMT better than having 4 ambulances with 2 paramedics? Common sense says the latter is better. I also think it’s very telling that the city of St George hasn’t supported DAS. They said they would honor the states decision. Explain that. The DAS employees don’t complain about their wages to management for fear of being fired. I don’t blame them. When GC took over interfacility they were threatened that if DAS even suspected they had applied they would be fired on the spot. So your strike comment was way off base. I look forward to reading more conspiracy theories.

  • Pamala Englert January 1, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Matthew,

    I am actually pleased by your response. I appreciate and respect anybody who writes coherently; even eloquently in your case, identifies themselves, maintains civility and is not unkind. I will not respond specifically to any of your points for it is true, you are more qualified to make them and you state your opinions and positions well. I am not kidding at all to say I enjoyed reading your words. Classic quote from you: “My comments are my own, with the occasional Shakespeare thrown in – though you haven’t heard Shakespeare until you’ve heard it in the original Klingon.”

    I also view you as a person who probably has a great ability to “mend” any potentially broken, even just cracked “fences,” which are anywhere and I do not specifically refer now to Dispatch only, for to some degree I feel better about that aspect after reading your comment. I know it is likely not your job or official role, and I only express it as my personal opinion. At some stage, no matter the outcome, there are many agencies and individuals which could only benefit from improved communication. Even in cases where one or both parties may have made any mistakes, forgiveness should always be the first option. Effective mediation between agencies and people involved, again I do not refer specifically to Dispatch, could only be beneficial and requires a good leader who can encourage all parties to “give benefit of doubt,” and move forward in the best interest of public safety.

    Regardless of any potential “erroneous” parts of my comments, I would never become defensive when somebody will take the time as you have to write and post intelligent commentary. When I am mistaken about anything, I can and do accept it and move forward.

    I do not perceive you or anybody in Dispatch as “mewling infants,” nor did I intend to come across as a person to “don the white armor and come charging to your Quixotic rescue.” I freely admit at times, even when I try very hard to not be emotional about a subject, emotion can sometimes still “creep” in and I then risk that my words would be perceived in a way not intended, so in this case, I sincerely apologize.

    No additional “Herculean” effort required, Matthew, for I consider what you wrote above to be “Herculean” in nature, and I do not intend to write further about Dispatch. As stated before, I am grateful for the services of Dispatch and I do understand the vital role played by all people who work in those positions. I happily and proudly participate each year for several consecutive years in organizing the parade and ‘Tribute in the Tabernacle’ on Veterans Day, which is intended to honor the service of all Veterans, Troops, Law Enforcement, Firefighters and Emergency Services Personnel which includes Dispatchers.

    Lastly, I wish to comment on your quote, “a job I love and am inclined to protect fiercely, yet honestly.” I respect those words greatly and can easily tell they are sincere.

    Respectfully, and with my best wishes for your new year to be filled with many great blessings.

    • Matthew Sevald January 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Many thanks to you Pamala as well. As I posted on the other thread where we were speaking, I greatly accept and appreciate your conciliatory statements and apologies.
      .
      I recognize that you have vested great time at personal expense in your endeavors and wish that more citizens would be as interested and dedicated in their local and larger circles of influence/concern.
      .
      Many happy new year wishes to you as well.

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