Over the years, cities outside Lubbock have stopped their EMS services, leaving citizens worried about slower response times. Shallowater is the most recent city to follow suit.
Abernathy and Slaton terminated their EMS services a few years ago, but was able to keep these services in their city by contracting out to University Medical Center.
In contracting out to UMC, these cities provide the facility for the ambulance. In return, they pay UMC to provide full-time paramedics, supplies and ambulance. UMC may also offer subsidies to these stations depending on the call load.
“It was about a quarter million savings for us to turn EMS completely over to UMC,” said Slaton’s city manager, Mike Lamberson.
Lamberson, and Mike Cypert, the city manager of Abernathy, said they originally made the decision to bring in UMC due to budget and staffing concerns.
“With the conditions and requirements of EMT’s and volunteers, you will see that everywhere there are a lot of communities losing their EMS service,” said Cypert.
Many cities have basic responders, who do not have as many qualifications or skills as paramedics do.
“The difference between a paramedic and a basic is the paramedic can do a lot more stuff. They can breathe for a person if they stop breathing. They can shock them if their heart stops and provide a lot more medications for that,” said Sergio Maul, a paramedic for UMC.
By contracting out to UMC, both cities maintained a fast response rate.
Maul believes no matter what a city decides, it is in the communities best interest to keep a paramedic within the city.
“In my opinion, it is of upmost importance to have a paramedic available to respond quickly,” said Maul.