It has been a while since I posted on this weblog and the reason is that I finally have some free time now. On November 1, 2010, I returned to my previous posting and position as a paramedic supervisor at the San Francisco Fire Department. Due to budget cuts, my position as the Section Chief of EMS Operations was de-funded for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. De-funding means that the SFFD chose to not fill the position but not totally eliminate the position from the budget with the hopes that in the future, the organization may be able to re-institute the position.
From July to November, the Chief of Department appointed me the Acting EMS Chief until she could select my replacement. The new Assistant Deputy Chief of EMS is a very capable and energetic member, Chief Jeff Myers. He will serve the EMS Division well in the upcoming years. It is a challenging time for all of our members because the City and County of San Francisco faces two upcoming budget cycles where there is a projected $400 million deficit per year. My position was de-funded in a $500 million deficit budget cycle during 2009-2010 as our fiscal year runs from June to July.
Coupled with the financial challenges is the uncertainty of the City of San Francisco's Open EMS system as the State of California EMS Authority removed the anti-trust exemption enjoyed by the Exclusive Operating Area in San Francisco favoring the SFFD, AMR and King and American Ambulance. Will the City and County of San Francisco issue an RFP for the EMS Transport market in ALS 9-1-1 and ALS Inter-facility transports? Will the City and County of San Francisco not be required to issue an RFP? Many questions remain unanswered at this time.
I finished my first shift back in the field this morning and it was a very nice re-introduction to the day to day operations of EMS. As the weeks come, I will find many topics to share with you and I hope that you continue your excellent work and be safe on the streets.