Vegas EMS transport battle's silver lining

The spat may mean more taxpayers may now be more aware of how EMS is funded and what the system could provide

An article on the transport wars going on in Las Vegas seems to indicate that there may be a solution in the works between LVFD and AMR. Normally I would consider this good news.

However, the fact that the possibility of opening up the system to an open field of potential bidders is the driving factor behind the negotiations makes me wonder whether outside competition makes for interesting bedfellows.

Certainly the contracted provider stands to lose a lot; they could be booted out of the system entirely. Hopefully there would be a clause in the contract that would help current Las Vegas EMS providers stay within the system. 

But the fire department also stands to lose position as well. A new provider would mean new negotiations, new competition, and a more uncertain future if the new provider demonstrates to the city council that they can do the same job more efficiently. 

Meanwhile, as it was pointed out by city staff, external factors are putting pressure on the system to become more responsive to the community’s needs, while remaining financially viable. Given the independent report of the millions of dollars to be saved or squandered, it’s no small decision to make.

The silver lining in all this is the possibility that there may be significant changes as a result of the transport spat. As more residents and taxpayers become interested in how their EMS system is funded and what services they receive, it may gather great attention and more meaningful discourse in what the system could provide.

But, we’ll have to see.

About the author

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of "EMT Exam for Dummies," has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Join the discussion

logo for print