Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bankruptcy and Suburban Emergency

Yesterday, in response to the city’s usurpation of ambulance service, one company laid off 18 workers, and took half their ambulance force off the street. The company, who took out long-term loans in anticipation of a long period of service, has now found its revenue forecast cut drastically. In order to pay off those loans and avoid bankruptcy, costs are being cut. You cannot blame the owner of the business, he’s doing his best to avoid bankruptcy. Funny how the same group of politicians who decry bankruptcy as a form of “government welfare” seem to be the same ones who are putting the businesses in bankruptcy in the first place.

When the city finally succeeds in running the ambulance companies out of town, one important question will remain. What will the suburbs do? Sylvania, Oregon, and other townships under the local 911 service will not have private ambulance service to turn to in an emergency situation. This will leave them with two choices: create ambulance service themselves or contract with the City of Toledo to handle their ambulance services.

I’m sure Emperor Carty and others in One Overlord Center are licking their chops at the prospect of providing emergency transport services, at inflated prices, to the suburbs. The great question will come when; there is a shortage of ambulances, which will get service first – a Toledoian who may not have insurance, or someone in Sylvania resident who is paying an inflated rate. Everyone outside of the city ought to pay close attention to this issue, it affects you more than has been reported.

Margaritas ante Porcos,
Right Wing Toledo

8 comments:

-Sepp said...

All this right after his lin 'o crap about making Toledo business friendly! Whatta scumbag!

Right Wing Toledo said...

Sepp,

If you're referring to Rumpf Ambulance, what is a business owner supposed to do? Wait until he goes bankrupt before making the cuts? If I owned the business, and forcast shrinking revenue, I'd be eliminating costs now as well - and try to pay off as much debt as possible. Toledo is not "business friendly", and City Council was informed that there would be consequences to their actions. Rumpf Ambulance may go out of business, through no fault of the owner - so why should he be left holding the bag from the government's decision?

Anonymous said...

There's more to this whole story of ambulance service in Toledo & Lucas County than has been portrayed in the media.

Rumpf ambulance was having difficulty long before this started and had shut down one of their stations last December.

It's funny that this alliance of Kish & Dick Bage from MedCorp even exists seeing as how (until it was recently settled out of court) Kish was suing MedCorp for unfair business practices (MedCorp was *allegedly* "strong arming" local nursing homes into signing ambulance contracts by threatening to withhold their mobile x-ray services if they didn't). Kish depends so much on revenue from County 9-1-1 runs because he has no nursing home contracts.

Kish also claims he pays his employees well. Since when is $5.35 per hour "well"? That's right, the person who has your life & health in their hands while taking you to the hospital makes the same amount of money as the person who flips burgers at McDonalds. MedCorp employee only make a few dollars more per hour.

MedCorp is the reason that Lucas County EMS had to impose a fee cap on ambulance transports. They would routinely "upgrade" a call to ALS simply because they had a Paramedic on the rig instead of two EMT-Basics. Even when ALS care was clearly not provided.

They also had one of their stations suspended for 30 days from making County runs in 2005 when one of their units with a patient onboard encountered a person with chest pains and instead of notifying Lucas County EMS to have the local fire department and a Life Squad dispatched, they contacted their own company who sent a rig from the other side of town.

Look back through Blade archives to get a true picture of MedCorp.

It's also interesting that the media is buying these two companies' line of having no ambulances left in Toledo if they're gone hook, line & sinker. There are two other large ambulance companies in town that are run by the hospital systems: Life Star (Mercy Health Partners) and ProMedica (duh). Nobody's heard any complaining from either of them.

As far as the suburbs, all (except Sylvania but that's a whole other barrel of worms) have their own ambulances and could take over their own BLS transports without too much difficulty.

Right Wing Toledo said...

Anon -

Your post sounds like someone who was let go from a private ambulance company, and dosn't deal with some of the issues at hand. But, to deal with the "issues" you raise:

Rumpf ambulance was having difficulty long before this started and had shut down one of their stations last December. Businesses often go through rough periods, sometimes their fault, sometimes not - perhaps there's a glut of ambulances in the market. How will the City of Toledo adding ambulance service remove such a glut - or will it add to the problem?

It's funny that this alliance of Kish & Dick Bage from MedCorp even exists.... There's an old addage - the enemy of my enemy is my friend. This isn't the first time business rivals have ceased battle and joined forces to combat government intrusion.

Kish also claims he pays his employees well. Since when is $5.35 per hour "well"? I was unaware that you were the grand-master of wage evaulation. Perhaps, just perhaps, %5.35 is what the market will bear. See, it's someone's choice to work or not work at a given wage. And, are you sure that every employee is making $5.35? How do you know for certain?

MedCorp is the reason ... sent a rig from the other side of town. Not germaine to the issue - the problems were corrected, and the company punished.

There are two other large ambulance companies in town that are run by the hospital systems: Life Star (Mercy Health Partners) and ProMedica (duh). Nobody's heard any complaining from either of them. Ask yourself this - if you had a choice of complaining about the city usurping ambulance service, and the result would be that your hospital might lose a significant number of emergency cases (drivers "instructed" not to take cases to certain hospitals), would you be willing to do so? It isn't in the fiscal interests of the hospitals to jeopardize a source of revenue over this, not matter how they feel.

As far as the suburbs, all (except Sylvania but that's a whole other barrel of worms) have their own ambulances and could take over their own BLS transports without too much difficulty. All at additional costs (required to have more than one BLS transport and crew on duty at all times). And they didn't vote on this issue. Carty want's regional support, but seems more than willing to increase costs for others across the region to make a little more for himself (and only temporary, at that.)

Hooda Thunkit said...

Odd, he shut down half of his fleet and laid off half of his people to save money?

What about making money until the city ambulances came on line?

There's something unsaid/untold about what's really going on here. . .

Right Wing Toledo said...

HT,

2 potential reasons for laying off now:

1. The "market" is fully saturated. If there are too many ambulances now for the current number of EMS runs received, what happens when the city cherry picks the top 40%?

2. Cost cutting and paydown of debt before closing the doors.

Hooda Thunkit said...

That cherry picking comment smacks of personal experience by the ambulance operator, who practices it himself by being conveniently out of service for various reasons when an unprofitable sounding call is imminent.

Not an accusation so much as it is an observation...

Right Wing Toledo said...

Hooda,

I'm not saying that the system in place is pwrfect, far from it. But, I will say that it is a far cry better than when the City ran things. I doubt anyone remembers why we went to private ambulances in the first place - but I suggest some research into disability claims from paramedics hurt on the job...