In an effort to provide emergency medical care that is both focused on high standards for patient care and is fiscally sustainable, Fort Worth City Council approved an emergency medical services comprehensive study during its regular meeting Oct. 31.

In a nutshell

According to a city news release, the study was commissioned as a result of the current provider, MedStar, relying more on budget reserves to maintain service levels. The city’s fiscal year 2023-24 budget includes $4.2 million in transitional funding to keep MedStar operating at current service levels while the study seeks a more viable path forward.

MedStar’s website states that the company is an administrative governmental agency formed through the creation of an interlocal government cooperating agreement. Its main purpose is to provide advanced life support ambulance service to more than 1 million residents in Fort Worth and 13 surrounding communities within a 436-square-mile radius. The website also stated that utilizing a fleet of 65 ambulances, the company responds to approximately 190,000 calls a year.

The details

According to city documents, four firms were evaluated to complete the study by a panel of representatives from the Fort Worth Fire Department, MedStar and other various stakeholders. The panel concluded that Fitch & Associates LLC, a public safety consulting firm that has done previous work for the city and has experience in finding solutions to public safety challenges in communities across the nation, presented the best value to the city.

City documents also state that the $182,500 funding for the study is being budgeted through the city manager's office within the general fund.

A closer look

According to the city’s news release, Fitch will begin the study Nov. 7 by evaluating all components of the city’s current EMS system, including:
  • Financials
  • Staffing
  • Response times
  • National best practices
Fitch will provide regular updates to the city at 45-, 90- and 120-day intervals, with a final report and recommendations expected by April 30.

In the meantime, the news release states that the council’s EMS Ad Hoc Committee is working to determine the frequency and amount of the city’s initial portion of transitional funding to MedStar at its Nov. 7 meeting. City staff will make a recommendation to council at its Dec. 5 work session. Final approval is expected at the Dec. 12 council meeting.