When it came time for the decision to be made, Medstar Ambulance was awarded the contract. This was not a surprise, because even before the contract was awarded by Mayor Hawke, Medstar Ambulance's administration was scheduling, and hiring new employees to cover the shifts in Gardner. How is it that, even before a decision was clearly made, Medstar was able confidently hire, and schedule employees, unless they knew well in advance that they would secure the contract? This is merely speculation, but it seems like a deal was made prior to putting the contract up for bid.
Recently an article was posted in the Worcester Telegram regarding the Gardner City council being at odds over the contract. There was a couple of statements that really stood out to me, upon reading it. Now, to completely understand my point of view, one must know that the 3 top runners for the contract were Action Ambulance, Woods Ambulance, and Medstar Ambulance. Much light has been shed on Wood's and Medstar, nothing has been mentioned about Action. In this article published by the Worcester Telegram, Mayor Hawke states his reasoning for awarding Medstar the 911, ambulance contract. The quote itself reads;
"What really impressed us was the amount of technology they have," Mr. Hawke said. "They've really invested in health care technology."
Mr. Hawke said Wood's Ambulance Service has not kept pace.
The mayor said the MedStar ambulance will operate out of the city's Central Fire Station. He said the company indicated it will help the Fire Department develop its own basic life support capabilities."
Hawke clearly states that his decision was made with investment in health care technology in mind. But this raises a bigger question, if technology is what Mayor Hawke was seeking, why wasn't Action Ambulance the best choice? Action Ambulance is a large company, who has invested in large, high quality training labs, a temperature controlled major incident response vehicle, Multiple ATVs, bicycles, and much more. Medstar, whom was Mayor Hawke's choice, does not even come close to such technology. Besides the bells and whistles that Action offers, I have dug deeper. I have interviewed employees from all three of the mentioned companies. Simply for comparison purposes, I asked what kind of equipment they carried on their ambulances. The results were not a surprise. In the last couple of years, MA-DPH, Office Of Emergency Medical Services mandated that all licensed ambulance services needed to upgrade, and change out old, out of date equipment. My interviews uncovered that Action, Wood's, who was accused of "not keeping pace with developing technology," as well as Medstar carried much of the same equipment. Action and Wood's, as far as cardiac monitors are concerned, have the same make and model which are lifepack 12's and 15's. Medstar, carries Zoll monitors. In comparison to the effectiveness of these cardiac monitors, they all have the same function, user friendliness, and provide the same level of diagnostic capabilities. Both models are DPH approved for use, and are up to date on regulations.
Out of the three companies, Wood's Ambulance is the only company that has made an investment in the high quality CPR device, the Lucas 2. This device provides quality CPR, with the ability to provide less pauses to life saving chest compressions. IV equipment, stretchers, stair chairs, airway devices, extrication equipment, all measured equal in effectiveness, and again were all up to DPH regulation.
The ambulances themselves, now this is where it becomes debatable. Action Ambulance has more, newer model ambulances. Medstar houses many, old vehicles purchased, re-built, and re-painted. Wood's offered a mix of older vehicles, with brand new vehicles on order, and currently arriving. As far as the contract was concerned, Action and Wood's offered more as far as ambulances themselves. Action and Wood's proposed multiple "Box ambulances," where as Medstar has offered up 3 Vans, which is likely to drop down to only 2 by the end of the summer. Now, not being an Emergency Medical Technician, one may not know the real difference between the two. The major differences are, usable space, and quality of the ride itself. A Box ambulance provides space for multiple providers, about 3-4 comfortably, to work efficiently when the need arises. Usually in a major life and death situation. A van ambulance can fit about 2 providers comfortably, along with the patient, but allows next to no access to the patient's right side. OEMS does not recommend the use of a van ambulance in the 911, emergency setting, because it does not comfortably house the needed Advanced Life Support equipment. Often the equipment will obstruct the movement of providers. Vans are usually recommended for Baslic Life Support, non-emergent transports.
In the end, Action was the clear top runner, the only reason they were not considered for the contract, was because they did not own an ambulance base in Gardner. But, here is the thing, neither did Medstar. The only company that housed ambulances in the city at the moment of decision making, was Wood's Ambulance. So, why was Action out of the running? In the end, Action was turned away because of their "lack of ownership of property." Medstar who lacked property ownership themselves, was handed the contract, and offered housing in the Gardner Fire Department. Why wasn't this option extended to Action Ambulance as well? Why was this housing decision kept quiet until the contract was awarded? Why are the Gardner tax payers, paying for the Fire Department to build Medstar EMS quarters in the Fire Department? Why wasn't the construction in the Fire Depatrment voted on? Why was Medstar not held to the same standard as Action, and Wood's? There is far too much suspicious activity involved. Mayor Hawke claims that Medstar was making "Investments in improvement," then later made a statement regarding Medstar assisting Gardner Fire in establishing their own Basic Life Support ambulance. What they fail to mention is, Wood's made offers to assist and support Gardner Fire as well.
|Costs Submitted- Blank spaces show category's rarely billed by Wood's|
Mayor Hawke ran a campaign based on "Supporting Local Business." In the end, he outsourced the contract, and a company, that was established in Gardner over 60 years ago was pushed out. His ideals of supporting local business was a joke. He blatantly had a different agenda in mind, when it came to this contract. In the end, the company he chose will cost tax payers more in ambulance costs, and wasted tax dollars spent to build unnecessary additions onto the Gardner Fire Department, which was never even voted on. Gardner citizens and tax payers should be angry with the decision made, because the costs you are now forced to pay, and the wasted tax dollars directly effect you. Mayor Hawke's decision should be
over ruled and voted on by the people of Gardner. Plain and simple.
-Published by Allaboutems.com- 6/10/2014
***Note from the author***
I am merely a bystander, who is not currently employed by any of the Ambulance companies mentioned.
**UPDATE** THIS IS MAYOR HAWKE'S REPLY:
Funny how instead of answering the questions, he placed blame on Wood's Ambulance, who has had nothing to do with this article being written, and has chosen to ignore the purpose of this post, and place blame because I own a blog. Interesting.