OKC council approved change to emergency ambulance code ordinance

The Oklahoma City Council approved a change to the city’s ambulance code emergency ordinance at its November 23 meeting.

The proposal, which was passed unanimously and took effect immediately, allows the Emergency Medical Services Authority to lift units designed to specifically respond to non-life-threatening calls, known as basic resuscitation name.

Previously, city bylaws required each ambulance unit to include personnel who could provide advanced service or assistance in life-threatening situations, for all calls, regardless of the severity of the situation.

The new plan aims to keep more of the Advanced Life Services teams available to respond to serious issues, while allowing the newly formed Basic Life Services teams to take charge of lower-level cases that require attention. less intensive care.

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The move is expected to improve response times by 5% to 10%, officials say.

In addition to lower staffing, longer wait times created by hospital stays that can last for hours, COVID-19 decontamination and fewer skilled workers for advanced life services, emergency medical responders Oklahoma City receives 7.7% more calls this year than last year.

EMSA availability

“It’s a pandemic. We have increased the volume of calls, high wait times in the emergency room while waiting for patients to be discharged into hospital beds, sometimes up to five or six hours,” said Dr. Curtis Knoles, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the Medical Control Board, who oversees EMSA operations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

According to Knoles, the average wait time to unload patients can be up to 90 minutes, which is not feasible for advanced life services responders who may be needed elsewhere for more serious 911 calls.

In August, before the new plan, EMSA was assisted by the Oklahoma City Fire Department to transport heart attack patients and those with similar symptoms.

However, this is not a practice that the EMSA or the Medical Control Board wanted to continue, as firefighters have other secondary duties to perform when answering calls, even though every fire unit is equipped with an advanced paramedic.

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Apart from changes to fire department response and assistance codes, EMSA is also trying to train and retain new employees by offering paid training, which will begin in January with the possibility of multiple courses take place simultaneously.

“There just isn’t a nationwide paramedic group,” said James Winham, president of EMSA. “The way we fight this is that we offer our own in-house paramedic schools. “

EMSA President and CEO Jim Winham speaks at a press conference in August.

According to EMSA data, nearly 10% of calls in 2020, or 22,600 cases, fell under the basic resuscitation system. Because of these numbers, leaders of the city’s Medical Control Board, EMSA and the fire department estimate that five to seven teams of responders from basic life services should be available daily.

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The Medical Control Board and EMSA have already invested $ 20,000 in new ambulance monitors that will be used to streamline the multi-tier dispatch system in Oklahoma City.

The tiered response plan is expected to have a financial impact with an estimated loss of income of between $ 200,000 and $ 250,000 per year, as responses to basic life services make less money than calls for life services advanced, about $ 70 in each case.

Going forward, the change in EMSA operations is effective for both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, as the two cities must have compatible operations.

Appointment and questions

Ahead of the Thanksgiving break, Oklahoma City Council appointed members to six MAPS 4 subcommittees and approved pay increases for a few city officials.

The MAPS 4 implementation plan, approved in September, is now underway with project subcommittees made up of 54 newly appointed members, who are responsible for making recommendations to the MAPS 4 Citizen Advisory Committee, which reports to city council.

Jason Cotton, Director of Program Management at ADG, made a presentation to the MAPS 4 Citizen Advisory Council in August.

MAPS 4, adopted by voters in 2019, contains 16 projects that address topics such as homelessness, post-incarceration programs, and the well-being of young and old, as well as traditional MAPS projects like the Colosseum exhibits, updates to the NBA Thunder arena and a multi-purpose stadium.

Following:Oklahoma City Council Approves MAPS 4 Implementation Plan

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The Civil Rights Center subcommittee will focus on the development of the Clara Luper Civil Rights Center, while MAPS 4 mental health and homelessness initiatives report to the community subcommittee.

The Connectivity sub-committee is responsible for projects related to transportation, sidewalks, trails and street lighting. The neighborhood sub-committee will look after parks, wellness centers for young and old, and an animal shelter.

The new exhibition center colosseum and Paycom Center updates, which are the first projects to begin construction using MAPS 4 money, will be overseen by the venues subcommittee. Members of the District Innovation Subcommittee will provide direction on the new business district.

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Each of the committees consists of nine members, some of whom have already worked with MAPS 3 projects.

However, appointments to these positions met with some opposition based on a lack of inclusiveness, communication and community engagement.

“I am not comfortable with these nominations, I do not have the impression that the community, our city, was taken into account in these nominations”, declared the municipal councilor of district 7 Nikki Nice.

Nice cited a lack of communication between the mayor and council about recommendations for appointments and placement of people with previous MAPS experience as issues that have held back community engagement.

“In my opinion, this is a very skewed system, and our city and the people who really could have been a part of it are not,” Nice said.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt speaks at the MAPS 4 Watch Party in December 2019.

The final word on who was appointed to each subcommittee came from Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, whose nominations were later approved by city council. Holt says he asked for and received recommendations in the months leading up to the appointment decisions.

The six sub-committees will meet monthly, or as needed, in the future and throughout the MAPS 4 implementation process. For more information on the sub-committees and their members, visit the tab MAPS 4 on the Oklahoma City government website.

city ​​pay raise

In addition to filling vacant positions in MAPS 4, the council approved proposals to increase the salaries of three city officials at its meeting.

City manager Craig Freeman received a raise to $ 268,224 per year, an increase of just over $ 10,000 from his salary the previous year.

City Councilor Kenneth Jordan also received a 2020 salary increase of $ 207,684, up to $ 215,982 for 2022.

For city auditor Jim Williamson, his salary will drop from $ 169,031 to $ 175,788 for the coming year.


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Jennifer R. Strohm