Fort Worth council committee recommends transitioning from MedStar to fire-based EMS

Members of Fort Worth’s Ad Hoc Council Committee on Emergency Medical Response have narrowed down the EMS options under consideration to a fire department-based model that would incorporate current MedStar employees.

The recommendation involves bringing MedStar employees on board as city employees to serve as paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians on ambulances run by the Fort Worth Fire Department. They would not serve as firefighters.

The four EMS options under consideration at Tuesday’s meeting included transitioning from MedStar to a private contractor, a third public safety service, a fire-based civilian model or a fire-based sworn firefighter model.

The committee had previously considered the option of retaining MedStar in its current role but transferring governance to the Fort Worth City Council.

The goals of the four proposed models were to provide a shorter response time for ambulances and give the city of Fort Worth greater control and oversight of the EMS system.

The ad hoc committee members made it clear in discussions Tuesday that they didn’t favor the private contractor or third service models.

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MedStar’s Chief Executive Officer Ken Simpson told the committee that of the four options under consideration, the fire-based EMS “offers the opportunity for subject matter experts at MedStar and Fort Worth to work together to plan and execute a merger with the support of Fitch and Associates, and it best focuses on people, because that’s what this is really all about — the people that need 911 care and the people that are providing the care.”

The final EMS Ad Hoc Committee meeting is scheduled for April 30. More details about how to incorporate the MedStar employees into the fire department will be discussed at that meeting.

A resolution to consider adopting the EMS recommendation and the implementation/transition plan is scheduled to come before the Fort Worth City Council on May 21.