City Government

Council Cools Fire Ambulance Plans

Boise City councilors worked on “strategic planning” Thursday, engaging in some give-and-take with department heads to exchange ideas and goals and offer direction from the council.

If that sounds like “corporate speak” with the young and restless bouncing their dreams off the board of directors, you got the picture.

The meetings are open to the public, but the players and the audience are about 98% city employees, including the top brass of the departments and union leaders portecting their turf.

Our interest was the ongoing (rift, rivalry, clash, operation, situation–you decide) between the Boise Fire Department and Ada County Emergency Medical Services. From the outset it was clear Fire Chief Dennis Doan was presenting a “business plan” with lots of numbers from the county budget and select comparasions of statewide ambulance services and patient fees–Ada County is by far the most expensive, but they collect only 30% from tax revenues.

While Doan didn’t come right out and say, “There is money to be made here and we want some of it,” he counched his powerpoint presentation in terms of , “council should be aware of the finances and billing of ACEMS.” He wants to go into the ambulance business.

However the council, to its credit, offered a much more moderate approach and suggested that BFD had the cart before the horse. Council said the FD needed to work on issues of “professional services” agreements, joint medical protocol so FD and EMS have same medica advice and rules from same emergency docs (each has its own advisor currently), incident command rules at emergency scenes, and joint training.

Councilor David Eberele opined it would be 2011 at the earliest before the council should seriously consider ambulance service run by Boise City. By in large the councilors were not aware (until GUARDIAN reports were posted in August) exactly how far the enthusiastic chief had gone with regard to ambulance plans, including application for a state license, sending out bid requests for an ambulance and related equipment, and plans to take over a good portion of EMS coverage within the city. A lot of time, effort and money were spent on the project which appears now to officially be on ”hold.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I am curious whats so special about 2011? Am I missing something obvious?

    EDITOR NOTE–Guardian opinion only: it appeared the ducks were not lined up and they wanted to give time for agreements to be made and worked out before going it alone.

  2. I am willing to bet that the Boise Fire department’s budget is also the largest in the state making them the most expensive.

    Was there any mention of that in the meeting? Doubtful.

    And they also plan on billing for service correct? Double up the taxes and bill for service. That’s a great deal.

    Sounds to me as if the Boise Fire Departments budget could stand to become a little smaller without any significant changes being made to the current system if they can afford this pilot paramedic program, transport license, hiring an unknown number of people to forge ahead with this poorly planed idea, ambulance bid’s, gurney bid and who knows what else. Waited tax dollars for no reason!

    How was this public meeting made public? Where was it posted at to attend a meeting with this as the topic of conversation? Just curios so next time I can actually attend and see for myself what their plans are. As of yet it has been crickets on the City/Fire side of things. As a member of the public/tax payer I have no idea what they are doing or why they are doing it but it does seems that they are still trying.

    EDITOR NOTE–No official votes were taken in the meeting which was billed as a “Strategic Planning Session.” We don’t have a problem with them talking to department heads and giving them an idea whether or not they like what they are hearing. You should ask your questions of the mayor and council directly, but the meeting dragged on long enough for the GUARDIAN to get a $12 parking ticket if that gives you an idea of how interesting it was.

  3. If every member of the fire department from the Chief to the inspectors and everyone in between had a paramedic certification I would probably buy into the plan. We know that would never happen though, there’s no incentive to spend the time or energy to attain that level of expertise. Or is there? Does a firefighter paramedic earn more then a firefighter?

    EDITOR NOTE–You obviously know the answer. There is a 10% bonus for being a paramedic.

  4. How did you know about the meeting BG? I would like to know how to find them and their agendas if possible so I could attend.

    EDITOR NOTE–I got an invite from council since I had been so intensely interested in the issue. There were several firefighters/paramedic/union
    people there as well. You really need to contact the mayor and council and let us know what they say.

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