By Angie Bado, TSB Publisher
Several McKinney firemen who did not want to be identified said they were disappointed that the City Council did not take action in their request for a new Emergency Advisory Services contract last week and plan to submit the proposal again.
The request on a new EMS agreement failed for lack of a motion following McKinney Fire Chief Danny Kistner’s presentation.
“I don’t understand why – we will go back to the drawing board and hope for open discussion. Wouldn’t you want to go with more services, including free yearly physicals for all firemen, for the same amount of money?” one fireman asked.
Kistner presented the information on BEST EMS during the meeting on Tuesday, July 17, saying that after comparing the six companies who submitted the request for qualifications (RFQ), the fire department recommends BEST EMS as the preferred provider for Emergency Medical Advisory Services for the McKinney Fire Department. The city’s current contract, which expired in 2008 and has been renewed on an annual basis, has been with QUESTCARE EMS, which is housed at Medical Center of McKinney. If a new service is not chosen, another one year contract with QUESTCARE will again begin Oct. 1, 2012. BEST EMS is housed at McKinney’s new Baylor Hospital campus.
The request was for approval to set up a new contract for medical advisory services only, including specifics such as the EMS Director, online (radio) / offline (standing orders) control, continuing education programs, and continuous quality improvement. Kisnter explained that the contract is not about choosing which hospital a patient is taken to. That decision is based on patient need, matched with hospital expertise and availability.
Kistner said it has been 8 years since the last RFQ was conducted by the city and that there is concern among the MFD that they have outgrown the existing medical direction resources. The McKinney Fire Department made 9707 total calls in 2011, averaging 27 emergency medical service calls a day, 18 EMS calls per day in 2012.
“This is not about pitting one hospital against another,” Kistner said. A medical director does not decide which hospital a patient will be transported to. An unstable patient will be taken to the closest, appropriate facility. Stable patients are allowed to choose the hospital of their choice, based on availability.
Proposals were examined by an evaluation team consisted of 6 field firefighters and paramedics of varying ranks, as well as the EMS Chief. Kistner said he recused himself from the process to avoid any possibility of a bias.
Kistner said that BEST EMS came up with the highest evaluation score and also gave the best, in person presentation. Kistner said that in the opinion of the fire department BEST EMS would provide more extensive services for the same cost that QUESTCARE now charges, including a physician advisory team of 3 medical directors, simulation labs in EMS, a continuing education package with Collin College, on scene physician coverage for all major incidents, CPR training, a fitness program and free physicals for fire and police.
Mayor Pro-Tem Travis Ussery asked Kistner, “How would this change impact the citizens of McKinney and would there be any additional costs to the city?”
Kistner said that the citizens of McKinney would not be aware of the change from a 911 response perspective, with a new EMS provider because the medical director is in the background. However, Kistner told council that citizens would probably see a difference in a greater availability of community education, such as CPR classes, and more involvement with the community in prevention programs. Kistner also stated that there would not be any increase in cost to the city. Kistner also said that BEST EMS is “making a huge amount of resources available.”
City Manager Jason Grey said that the city is prepared to move forward with the recommendation from Chief Kistner.
Kistner said that, simply stated, he felt that the city could get better service with BEST EMS and that no consideration was given as to whether the services would be housed specifically in a McKinney location. Councilman Brooks also asked Kistner if he had worked with BEST before to which Kistner responded, “After working in this business for 30 years, I probably do know a couple of people at BEST.”
Councilwoman Kever recused herself from the discussion on this proposal due to her personal involvement with Baylor McKinney. She and husband Mark are members of the Baylor McKinney Founder’s Circle.
Councilman Brooks did not recuse himself even though his brother, Dan Brooks, is treasurer of the Board of Directors for Medical Center of McKinney.