Organizational instability, service cuts, and poor services are some of the most common complaints made against private emergency services. Yet the D.C. Council chose to put the lives of D.C. residents at risk by voting to hand over control of critical emergency services to for-profit businesses.
In a rushed meeting last week, council members voted to privatize parts of D.C.’s EMS system, including ambulances. The plan, developed by Chief Gregory Dean, is void of critical input from front-line civilian EMS providers.
“The quick passage of this plan is dangerous to the emergency care provided by EMS to District residents and visitors,” AFGE Local 3721 President Aretha Lyles said. “This band-aid approach to a systemic problem will only send us back where we started.”
Lyles said all too often private corporations use local governments to pad their own pockets instead of putting people first. There are meaningful changes the city can make to meet the increased demand on EMS by investing in city-run systems that provide the best, most cost effective services to residents.
Instead of handing over control of critical services to for-profit companies, Lyles said the city should:
Critical public services should never be outsourced to for-profit companies. Too often outsourcing means taxpayers have very little say over the CEOs’ decisions that hurt public health and safety. They are left picking up the tab for cost overruns and are stuck with contracts that often last decades.
Read more horror stories on outsourcing in Out of Control: The Coast-to-Coast Failures of Outsourcing Public Services to For-Profit Corporations.