WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3721 strongly opposes plans to privatize parts of D.C.’s EMS system. After a rushed D.C. Council meeting, council members voted unanimously to approve a plan that relies on third-party vendors to respond to emergency medical calls in the District. 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,” said AFGE Local 3721 President Aretha Lyles. “This band-aid approach to a systemic problem will only send us back where we started. If private companies are sent to ‘low-priority’ calls and the situation escalates the patient will be waiting for the appropriate medical resource to respond to their emergency. It is imperative that we explore 21st century approaches to improving our quality of service to medical emergencies.”
Top recommendations by AFGE Local 3721 include:
“We must be critical of plans to privatize the care and emergency response to District residents,” said Lyles. “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. Let’s not leave the emergency care of Washingtonians in the hands of the lowest bidder.”