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VIDEO: Cowtown Continues To Debate EMS System

Ambulance
Ambulance | Image by Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

The City of Fort Worth is still debating the future of its emergency medical system.

A 60-page EMS Comprehensive Study was released last week by Fitch & Associates, a private consulting firm. The city hired the firm in November to analyze Fort Worth’s EMS service through MedStar and offer alternative emergency service options, reported CBS News Texas.

In 2023, MedStar requested additional funding from the Fort Worth City Council, citing a lack of ability to provide enough resources for the high volume of calls they receive each day, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The comprehensive study offered a number of key takeaways about the EMS system.

“In 2023, the EMS system did not deploy sufficient resources to meet the desired response time objectives,” the study reads, reported CBS News Texas. The study also found that the workload significantly exceeded the recommended threshold for best practice, and if more resources were added, response time could improve by 5.5 minutes.

The City of Fort Worth’s Ad Hoc Council Committee met on March 19 to examine the report.

After numerous months of research, Fitch & Associates have cultivated four possible options:

Keeping the current MedStar System with no changes to its structure, costing $3.2 million from taxpayer money

Establishing a fire-based EMS model with either civilian or sworn positions, with costs ranging from $10.5 million to $63 million

Create a third EMS service model alongside police and fire within the city, with costs ranging from $15.3 million to $55.3 million

Switch to a private contractor, with an estimated cost of $9.4 million

Fitch & Associates encouraged the consolidation of all 911 call centers, adding that improving the system’s speed by minutes could save millions of dollars, per the study. Additionally, the consulting firm recommended transferring the EMS system’s governing authority to the Fort Worth City Council.

MedStar’s Matt Zavadesky said the service has faced financial struggles as Fort Worth’s population has continued to increase with little corresponding increase in insurance reimbursement. MedStar has been providing emergency medical services for Fort Worth since 1986, according to KERA News.

“The real question now is, given all that transparency and looking at how the systems perform clinically, operationally, and financially, what’s the best next step forward?” Zavadesky said, per CBS News Texas.

Fort Worth’s EMS committee plans to meet twice more in April while continuing to meet with stakeholders and discuss viable options before making a recommendation to the Fort Worth City Council, per KERA News.

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