In response to my analysis of U City ambulance service, some citizens (thanks John, Jo Ann, and Lisa!) raised concerns about the quality of Gateway Ambulance medics. This follow-up post gives greater depth on the issue.
Gateway’s medics pass the same state certification exams that our firefighters do, and have their own employee union. In many cases, they are firefighters, picking up extra shifts on a day off. In addition, U City hires many of our firefighters directly from private ambulance companies like Gateway.
However, that does not mean Gateway medics are using that training with the professionalism our residents deserve on-scene. I’ve heard from some neighbors about disorganization and unprofessional attitudes when Gateway answered the call. This is a matter of public safety, and those concerns need to be treated with the utmost seriousness. We can put systems in place that will allow us to tell whether this is a problem with Gateway as a whole, with particular employees: we can isolate the issue, and find a solution.
Our City should establish a system to survey residents who use ambulance service and ask about the quality of care they received. That way, the burden of following-up is taken off the resident. We will have comprehensive information on the quality of care residents are receiving.
Most importantly, this data can be used to drive true 21st Century transparency and better public safety. Our City needs to combine data on resident satisfaction with Gateway’s metrics on outcome and response time. We should have a page on the City’s website where residents can view regular reports, with all sensitive data anonymized, about how our ambulances are performing.
To get an idea of what this could look like, and how it can be used not only to evaluate service, but to improve service, visit my previous post “Gateway Ambulance: See the Data.”