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Indianapolis Mayor Plans EMS Merger

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - It’s official. Marion County’s two top providers of emergency medical services are set to merge by the first of next year. It’s a story we first broke on 24-Hour-News 8 on Wednesday.

We told you about it last night and Mayor Gregg Ballard made the announcement this afternoon. Under the plan, Indianapolis Fire Department’s EMS will merge with Wishard Hospital’s EMS. Many top officials told me today that at the root of it all is … efficiency and saving money. They add the move won't result in layoffs or added costs to consumers.

“Today we announce the intent to consolidate EMS runs by the city and EMS runs by Wishard into a new division.” said Mayor Gregg Ballard.

With that, Ballard added that the EMS consolidation in Marion County will save anywhere from $14 million, putting IFD’s EMS system back in the black following a $1.5 million projected deficit this year alone.

IFD’s top brass says it’s a good move.

“There are some things that this service is going to be able to do that are a lot different from what we do currently and I think they’re going to be a lot different than a lot of places around the country do” said IFD Division Chief Scott Issacs.

Under the plan, the city’s 70 paramedic EMTs will merge with Wishard’s 180 paramedic EMTs. The city’s 150 firefighter paramedics would remain the same. All would become a new EMS division under Public Safety Director Frank Straub. Officials tell us consolidation will lead to across the board, standardized training, procedures, improved patient care and the same service charges for everyone.

“There are ways to do things better in terms of cost, whether it be to have combined purchasing agreements and otherwise," said Health & Hospital Corp Chief Financial Officer Dan Sellers. "But we all run really high quality services so this is a way to create the right linkages back into the community so that we’re at the right level of public safety.“ he added.

Officials told me they still have to refine the plan over the next several months.

IU Medical School will also play a key role in training and technology under the new division.

The plan still needs City-County Council approval.



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