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Home > Topics > EMS Management

Too many call in sick; Hawaii shuts down ambulance units

The unexpected staff shortage caused the temporary suspension of four of the 22 units on the island of Oahu.

HONOLULU - The Honolulu Emergency Medical Services Division temporarily shut down four units over the weekend after too many employees called in sick. reported that the staff shortage resulted in the Waianae and Pawaa units being closed overnight from 11 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday. The Makiki and Waipio units were also closed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

The four units were strategically closed, and patient care was not jeopardized, the agency told Kohn2. Surrounding units, including American Medical response, helped cover the area.

While there’s no personnel shortage, there is a high turnover rate, the agency said. It employs about 200 EMTs and paramedics and receives more than 66,000 calls annually.

The agency plans to meet to make sure this never happens again, and issued the following statement:

“EMS says employees continue to provide excellent patient care despite the mandatory overtime which has contributed to the staffing shortage. EMS continues to work on solutions to relieve shortages.”

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Cölton R. Dean Cölton R. Dean Monday, April 21, 2014 3:14:32 PM Is Honolulu EMS hiring? What does it take for a mainlander to transfer to Hawai'i?
Randy Reinholdt Randy Reinholdt Monday, April 21, 2014 4:08:16 PM So the system there sounds like it is falling apart and younwantbto pack up and head over...think about it.
Randy Reinholdt Randy Reinholdt Monday, April 21, 2014 4:09:16 PM
Jason Bokow Jason Bokow Monday, April 21, 2014 4:17:10 PM ill take a job out i hawaii....Need someone?
Randy Reinholdt Randy Reinholdt Monday, April 21, 2014 4:17:35 PM Please visit the petition site..Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia Cupe#873
Jason Bokow Jason Bokow Monday, April 21, 2014 4:17:46 PM thats what i said....i'd jump over there in a heartbeat! XD
Keith Moraes Keith Moraes Monday, April 21, 2014 4:32:00 PM Patient care is always jeopardized with the shut down of ANY amount of Ambulances. Services run at bare minimums. All it takes is one bus MVA (or any multi-patient incident) to occur and suddenly there's no ambulances left to respond to medical calls. I wish the sick Paramedics get well soon.
Cindy Nace Moriarity Cindy Nace Moriarity Monday, April 21, 2014 4:58:44 PM Hire me i would love to work there.
Cölton R. Dean Cölton R. Dean Monday, April 21, 2014 5:47:09 PM Well, is it an issue of staffing? Maybe they need to bring in more mainlanders, in staff and management, to offer different perspectives.
Randy Reinholdt Randy Reinholdt Monday, April 21, 2014 5:51:50 PM Could be but is sounds like the same issue in British Columbia...Bad employer results into hire and retention isssues..Huge respect issues relate into tons od sick time
Dee McCormack Dee McCormack Monday, April 21, 2014 5:52:59 PM Any chance a canadian emt can come down and work for them for two weeks cause ill come cover !!! :)
Cölton R. Dean Cölton R. Dean Monday, April 21, 2014 6:48:06 PM I signed it. Have you ever considered the idea of a "Charting Strike". You still show up for work, you still respond, you still treat and transport patients. But produce no chart. Then the ambulance company cannot bill for reimbursement and there's no documentation, opening up the company to legal liability. It maintains the ethical and moral obligations EMS workers have to the community, while providing leverage against the employer. Not to mention, we all hate charting. But like a traditional strike, it would only work if everyone participated.
George Gribbin George Gribbin Monday, April 21, 2014 7:00:22 PM Gives a salary range but not an hourly rate.
Stephen Hudspeth Stephen Hudspeth Monday, April 21, 2014 10:36:17 PM Today is day one of five but I would stay forever where do I sign?
Ed Stiefvater Ed Stiefvater Tuesday, April 22, 2014 2:50:44 AM Also, it clearly said they are in mandatory overtime right now. It may look great form where you are, but it will be the same crap you're dealing with now in a more expensive market.
Ray Franco Crescioni Ray Franco Crescioni Tuesday, April 22, 2014 3:22:37 AM The City and County of Honolulu EMS is hiring. The requirements are higher than most places in the mainland because the hours of education required are higher. The hours can be made up by doing "third-man" ride along. The hourly rate can be calculated by dividing the yearly salary by the number of hours worked in a year. That's without OT. Anyone that applies should be able to figure that out. It is possible to obtain an application form the City and County of Honolulu website. The position title is MECS 1. Let me know if you have further questions. Aloha.
Ray Franco Crescioni Ray Franco Crescioni Tuesday, April 22, 2014 3:24:57 AM No you can't come work for two weeks. You can come for vacation and do a ride along if you're interested.
Ray Franco Crescioni Ray Franco Crescioni Tuesday, April 22, 2014 3:29:02 AM It looks like you work for AMR already so it may be easier for you. You can request a transfer with AMR and check it out. You can also go to the City and County of Honolulu website and download an application. The job title is MECS 1.
Diana Ledford Diana Ledford Tuesday, April 22, 2014 7:45:05 AM I want a job
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Tuesday, April 22, 2014 11:04:00 AM It looks like there are a lot of naïve "kids" on this site with no idea about Hawaii or maybe even where it is. First, moving to Hawaii is expensive. Just the plane ticket will be pricey. Next, what about your car? Unless you ship it you won't have transportation. You are not very marketable without a car. How about rent? Most of those who can afford to work in Hawaii are locals with family homes. If you think California and NYC are expensive you haven't seen anything until you try to rent a tiny apartment in Hawaii. EMT is an entry level job and has a high turnover rate for a lot of reasons just like any other low paying entry level job. I doubt if any mainlander is going to be able to fix this problem since it exists on the mainland as well and probably to a greater degree since young EMTs and Paramedics are always job hopping looking for greener grass which most never find to their satisfaction.
John Oscar John Oscar Tuesday, April 22, 2014 3:57:32 PM Cölton R. Dean- I would say it's incredibly unethical to not document your care. If you use a controlled substance, there will be no tracking, if you do an invasive procedure, there will be no record on who, why, and when it was done, ect. There are better ways to resolved management/employee issues.
John Oscar John Oscar Tuesday, April 22, 2014 3:59:24 PM ... and not being able to pronounce, spell, or understand the street names.
Exhausted Medic Students 'R' Us Exhausted Medic Students 'R' Us Tuesday, April 22, 2014 4:48:11 PM John Oscar I agree with 99% of what you say. BUT, as an alternative, you could always "document" your care in a word document SOAP note, like the old days of hand written charts...meets both ends. In our service it would indeed get you canned unless you had 100% participation. Even then, maybe. But then again, our service values its providers and we donthave crap like this happening on this scale.
Jason Bokow Jason Bokow Tuesday, April 22, 2014 5:46:01 PM George Gribbin so thats why they dont have people.....i wouldnt stand around for a salary and then MANDATED overtime....hell no ....hourly baby for anything over 40 a week...
Lenny Dixon Lenny Dixon Tuesday, April 22, 2014 6:28:30 PM I feel for you guys. If all these people that want to work over there. Knew how expensive it is, they would change their minds. I have friend that lived there and everything is double. Rent, gas, and food. To work under your conditions is crazy. Feel your pain.
George Yaworski George Yaworski Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:06:53 AM Pay my moving costs and I will relocate, oh, might need a green card too.

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