By the time this newspaper hits the streets, city officials may have decided to privatize Hamtramck’s ambulance service.
The Fire Department, as part of the firefighters’ employment contract with the city, has been the sole provider of this service.
But that cost has been a burden on the city, and quite frankly taxpayers haven’t been getting their money’s worth. The firefighters who are assigned to the ambulance service are not trained to do significant medical work.
A city official put it this way: The public is getting a glorified taxi ride to the hospital.
Recently, the city council heard a presentation by Detroit Medical Center to take over ambulance service. Essentially what the city would get is an ambulance crew with advanced training that would allow them to conduct life-saving procedures.
The best part is the service would not cost the city a dime. Instead, DMC bills the patients’ insurance companies.
While the city has a contract agreement with the firefighters’ union, there is good cause to break it. That good cause is the fact that our two ambulances are broken down and are not operating.
The two vehicles are old and need to be replaced. But guess what? The city is broke, and in fact is operating in a serious budget deficit.
Hamtramck simply can’t afford the firefighters’ ambulance service.
We don’t mean to beat up on the firefighters, but at some point the union is going to have to agree to this concession for the financial health of the city and the health of its residents.