Has San Diego’s new ambulance provider improved service?
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, March 9th>>>>
How is San Diego’s new ambulance company faring so far
More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines…
Governor Gavin Newsom gave his State of the State address last night. It comes as California faces the highest gas prices in the nation, at an average of five dollars and forty four cents a gallon. The Governor proposed aid to Californians in the form of a tax rebate.
“Now, it’s clear we have to go farther. And that's why working with legislative leadership I'll be submitting a proposal to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices (short applause).”
Newsom didn’t provide specifics about the rebate, but a spokesperson said the rebate could occur before May.
A new proposed development project could dramatically change the Seaport Village area in downtown San diego. Under the plan, the existing village would be replaced with hotels, an aquarium, restaurants, an art exhibit, and a yacht club.
The plan proposed Tuesday has the support of the San Diego city council, mayor and the chamber of commerce. It will be some time before the port makes a final decision.
San Diego county public health officials reported three hundred and fifty-seven new covid-19 cases on Tuesday and six additional deaths. Hospitalizations continue to decline, down by fourteen to two-hundred and ninety-four. That’s according to state data. The county’s covid positivity test rate also continues to drop. It’s at three-point-six percent, that’s down from four point four percent last friday.
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San Diego’s new ambulance provider is getting its first progress report today. The city council’s public safety and liveable neighborhood committee will be looking at how operations have been going thus far.
KPBS Health Reporter Matt Hoffman explains--
Falck ambulances have been on the streets in San Diego full time for about three months now.. The company won the city’s five year 9-1-1 contract after beating out the previous provider -- American Medical response. Falck promised more staffing and new lifesaving equipment --
The ramp up process was challenging
Jeff Beham runs Falck’s San Diego operations.. The company spent six months building up before taking over just after Thanksgiving.. he acknowledges that staffing requirements haven’t been met yet.
We’re slightly below that level -- it depends, it’s day to day. Now there’s challenges to that
Beham says the most recent COVID surge complicated operations.
You know we just came on the other side of the omicron virus so that’s really good and our staffing is improving really well, but January was challenging. 25% of our employees were out sick at some time with COVID
Data from the city of San Diego over the last three months shows Fallck hasn’t quite met their monthly staffing requirement -- in February they were about 8% short.
we’re working toward meeting the goal we said we would meet and we’re in a much better position today than when we started
Fewer staff means some have to pull extra shifts and the city is worried about busy crews and the potential for burnout..
Jodie Pierce, SDFDdeputy chief of EMS
As we move through the contract we continue to address the requirements and as I mentioned falck is making achievements with those requirements
Jodie Pierce is the deputy chief of EMS for the San Diego Fire Rescue department.. She says the city runs the 9-1-1 system with Falck providing ambulance transports.
Each fire apparatus has a firefighter paramedic on it and then the second medic is coming from falck ambulance and they are providing the transport to the hospital from the incident
The department says to their knowledge everyone has gotten the care they needed. And Pierce says that Faulck’s three month report-card doesn’t show the full picture--
I feel very good about where we are right now in our contract agreement with them
Falck is following through on other contract obligations like bringing in new ambulances..
At least half of the fleet is brand new and Falck says all vehicles will be by April.
You can never go wrong with a brand new ambulance
Mark Selapack is a paramedic supervisor for Falck.. He’s worked emergency medical reponse in the city over the last 22 years, which has seen many different operators.
Rural metro, SDMSE, AMR and now falck mobile health corp
Selapack says the ambulances come with new tech that helps first responders and patients, like power loading gurneys--
One of the big factors in those gurneys is it prevents injuries
It’s also now just one person instead of sometimes two or three
Ojeni Touma is a 9-1-1 paramedic with Falck -- she says ambulances also now have Lucas Devices, which deliver automatic chest compressions --
It’s super easy to use and then it’ll basically start compressions (pumping noises)
It allows one more person to do other things rather than compressions. It actually frees up two people instead of two people having to alternate on compressions super helpful we enjoy what it allows us to do
While they have new equipment, staffing issues persist. Falck reports that response times are at or near 90% across the city.
We’re really proud of our falck employees our paramedics and EMTS making sure we get there as quickly as we can it’s just been under some tremendous strain with COVID and folks being out ill and they’re just working really hard we’re so proud and we want the community to know they are working hard for them too
Falck could be fined by the city if they don’t meet contract requirements. The San Diego fire rescue department says they will continue working with the ambulance company to deliver the highest level of emergency services.
MH KPBS News
Donations have been coming into the House of Ukraine from San Degians hoping to help the people of Ukraine. But it’s no longer the only location where donations are being collected.
kpbs reporter jacob aere says another collection center is in city heights.
San Diego’s House of Ukraine is working with other local organizations like “Help Ukraine Now” to try to help those caught in the ongoing chaos with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Victoria Ivanova is a Ukrainian immigrant who is an active member with the House of Ukraine in Balboa Park. She says she’s worried for her family who lives in the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv.
“So I cannot just sit and cry. I am trying to do everything possible to support my country from this side. Even if I’m not there, I'm still fighting.”
Ivanova says the biggest need right now is for medical and military supplies, which can be dropped off at their El Cajon Blvd Unit, which operates from 9 am – 8 pm daily. Jacob Aere, KPBS News.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria launched the “Bridge to Home'' program this week. The first round of the program combines local, state and federal dollars to finance seven affordable housing developments across the city. KPBS’ Andrew Bowen recently spoke with Mayor Todd Gloria. Here’s that interview…
And that was San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, speaking with KPBS ‘ Andrew Bowen.
Coming up.... Will higher gas prices impact tourism in San Diego? We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.
Gas and aviation fuel prices continue to climb, and it’s left some wondering when, if, or how that might impact San Diego’s tourism industry. KPBS’ John Carroll has more.
THE AVERAGE PRICE OF A GALLON OF GAS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY ON TUESDAY WAS $5.48… UP TEN CENTS FROM MONDAY. THE PRICE OF AVIATION FUEL IS ALSO RISING FAST. SAN DIEGO’S TOURISM ECONOMY HAS BEEN RECOVERING NICELY OVER THE PAST YEAR OR SO. BUT WILL THE HIGH PRICES SLOW THAT RECOVERY? WE ASKED THE AUTO CLUB’S ANLLEYN VENEGAS.
“HISTORICALLY, HIGH GAS PRICES HAVE NOT STOPPED PEOPLE FROM TRAVELING, BUT THEY COULD MODIFY THEIR PLANS, MAYBE GO SOMEWHERE CLOSER TO HOME.”
VENEGAS SAYS IT’S JUST TOO EARLY TO TELL IF THAT PATTERN WILL HOLD NOW THAT WE’RE IN UNCHARTED TERRITORY WHEN IT COMES TO GAS PRICES. JC, KPBS NEWS.
Meanwhile, in the north county, a little bit of relief from the climbing gas prices came in the form of a mobile laundry trailer. KPBS reporter Tania Thorne has the story.
The Lived Experiences mobile Laundry trailer rolled into Mira Costa Community College Tuesday.
It's the first time the trailer's been to the Oceanside community learning center campus.
Oscarin Ortega, the group's founder, says laundry is a basic need that many students and community members can't afford right now due to the rise in gas and food prices.
“Having a free load of laundry can save them up to 20-40 dollars and it just takes a burden off them. So just having that safe space and saving those extra bucks in their lives it’s helping them out big time.”
Free clothes, showers, groceries, and resources were available for anyone attending the event.
The free laundry and resource event will continue on the last Tuesday of every month and is open to all.
TT KPBS News
Now on stage at The Old Globe is a new play called "El Borracho." It explores the realities of a Mexican-American family dealing with an alcoholic family member. The play is named after the popular Lotería card game — namely the card that depicts a stereotype of a drunkard.
KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon evans recently spoke with the play’s director, Edward Torres, and the playwright Tony Meneses
That was playwright Tony Meneses and director Edward Torres speaking with KPBS/arts editor Julia Dixon Evans. "El Borracho" is at The Old Globe through March 20th.
That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.