What did we learn from the City Council ambulance debate? – South Dakota News

What did we learn from the City Council ambulance debate? – South Dakota News

A presentation on Sioux Falls ambulance service Tuesday drew scrutiny, defensiveness and sarcasm from city councilors who attended.

The goal of the session was to educate councilors and the public on the 711-page contract between the city and its ambulance provider, Paramedics Plus.

Emotions ran thick during a two-hour discussion as councilors invoked the value of human lives and questioned City Hall’s approach to emergency medical services.

Stripping away the tension, what did we actually learn?

►More: Tensions rise at City Council during ambulance debate

Paramedics Plus still has no mutual aid agreement with Med-Star…

There are times when Paramedics Plus ambulances are too busy to respond immediately, and eventually so-called “mutual aid” calls go out to neighboring services.

Med-Star Paramedic Ambulance in Brandon is the closest service and has responded to past emergencies in Sioux Falls, but there’s no contract in place guaranteeing that will happen. Both sides have been unable to come to an agreement, and City Councilor Theresa Stehly asked for an update at the meeting.

…and the city blames Med-Star for the lack of agreement.

Jill Franken, who heads the city’s health department, blamed Med-Star for the lack of an agreement, saying the Brandon company has refused to sign.

“They wanted to be paid every time they were called for mutual aid,” Franken said. “They also are concerned about being under the oversight, which is required.”

Also, the city says an agreement with Med-Star isn’t necessary.

City health officials…

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