When I first read the story, my initial reaction was, “Finally, a cost-saving EMS merger that makes sense.” It would seem that Indianapolis Fire Department is on board with it as well:
“There are some things that this service is going to be able to do that are a lot different from what we do currently and I think they’re going to be a lot different than a lot of places around the country do,” said IFD Division Chief Scott Issacs.
Usually, this is the exact opposite path most often taken by public officials. Cash-strapped cities, looking to cut costs, seek to merge EMS and the fire department, and usually to the detriment of paramedic morale and patient care. Sometimes the fire department doesn’t want the merger – making for really bad care – and sometimes they openly lobby for it, seeing EMS as a viable revenue source and a way to justify current staffing levels in an era of ever-dwindling fires. Problem is, even when they want EMS, the fire departments see it as a means to an end, and not their core mission.
Looks like Mayor Greg Ballard and Indy Fire took just the opposite approach, though, and good on ‘em. The article states that Indiana University Medical School will take an active role in training and education, which should make for the strong medical direction that is essential for a premier EMS system.
I know that Tam, Caleb and Roberta have serious misgivings about Ballard and his anti-Second Amendment leanings, but at least when it comes to structuring an EMS system, it seems like he’s got his head on straight.