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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 28, 2013 | By Ben Welsh
The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to temporarily continue staffing ambulances added to the Fire Department fleet earlier this year -- although it is unclear how the cost will be covered. Fire Chief Brian Cummings says more ambulances are necessary to handle an increasing number of requests for medical help, which now account for more than 80% of 911 calls. In May, Cummings added 11 ambulances by reassigning one firefighter per shift from 22 firetrucks across the city. That decision was challenged by labor groups and some members of the city Fire Commission, who criticized the fire chief's plan as poorly prepared, and expressed concern that the change could put firefighters at greater risk.
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BUSINESS
January 26, 2014 | By Lisa Zamosky
Few of us expect to find ourselves riding in the back of an ambulance, yet in 2012 nearly 600,000 people in Los Angeles County were transported to hospital emergency rooms. And that's just in response to 911 calls. But how does it work? Where do they take you? How much does it cost and who pays for it? Every city and county in Southern California has a slightly different way of handling emergencies. But Cathy Chidester, director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency, says most local areas operate under similar principles.
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NEWS
April 16, 2013 | By Ben Welsh, Robert J. Lopez and Kate Linthicum
With the overwhelming share of his agency's 911 calls now requesting emergency medical care, LAFD Chief Brian Cummings is moving forward with a controversial plan to shift more firefighters from engines to ambulances. The LAFD plans to add 11 new ambulances to its fleet of medical rescuers by transferring in firefighters from other posts, according to a draft plan circulated at Tuesday's meeting of the city Fire Commission. Cummings, who has been under pressure to improve response times, said the department must reconfigure its deployment practices to handle current workload demands.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 18, 2013 | By Paloma Esquivel
An Orange County ambulance company has paid $3.05 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it billed Medicare and other federal healthcare programs to transport patients who didn't need an ambulance, federal prosecutors said. The suit was filed on behalf of the United States by two former employees of Lynch Ambulance, which is based in Anaheim, under whistle-blower provisions of the federal False Claims Act, according to a written statement by the U.S. attorney's Central District of California office.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 10, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez and Kate Mather
As critically injured passengers lay on the runway near the wreckage of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, other passengers pleaded with emergency dispatchers to send ambulances to help the victims, according to 911 tapes released Wednesday. The tapes, released by the California Highway Patrol, offer new information on the initial chaotic moments of Saturday's crash at San Francisco International Airport that left two people dead and 182 injured.  The callers first spoke with CHP dispatchers and then were transferred to medical and fire dispatchers in San Francisco.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 22, 2012 | By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Seeking to bolster public confidence in how the Los Angeles Fire Department responds to emergencies and handles data, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has called on the City Council to dip into budget reserves to pay for six additional rescue ambulances and has announced that he wants to install a nationally recognized expert in statistics to oversee the agency's accounting of its performance. In a letter to the council sent late Thursday, Villaraigosa characterized as "untenable" recent confusion over how fast fire units respond to emergencies.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 25, 2000
Re "Fire Department Puts Ambulance Staffing Change on Hold," June 17. Now we know where Mayor Richard Riordan and Fire Chief William Bamattre's priorities are. They are going to take 10 ambulances out of regular service in order to cover the Democratic National Convention in August. This is planned despite the facts that the city already has a shortage of paramedics and ambulances to serve its citizens, and that the paramedic pilot program for the San Fernando Valley now will have to be postponed until late September.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 12, 1997 | HOPE HAMASHIGE
At the first of several hearings on a proposal to change the county's ambulance service, officials from the Orange County Fire Authority said Tuesday that their plan would help them overcome budget problems and would result in lower fees for users. Under the plan presented Tuesday, the Fire Authority would take over the service now offered by private ambulance companies. "We are making this recommendation because it is positive in every way," Chief Ron Blaul said.
NEWS
August 10, 1991 | From Associated Press
Mayor Alfred Hopkins has come under fire for allowing an ambulance to transport Gov. William Donald Schaefer's longtime companion to a hospital in Baltimore. A man had a heart attack and died while the ambulance, one of two owned by the city, was taking Hilda Mae Snoops to the hospital 35 miles away. City Alderman Carl Snowden said he plans to ask the City Council to investigate the July 24 incident.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 16, 2013 | By Ben Welsh, Robert J. Lopez and Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings said Tuesday that he will reassign dozens of firefighters from engines to rescue ambulances beginning next month to handle an increase in medical emergencies. The sudden action, coming after months of criticism over the agency's 911 response times and Cummings' leadership, drew immediate opposition from labor groups representing firefighters and department commanders, who warned the change would put firefighters at greater risk. City fire commissioners and a key City Council member also questioned the plan, which calls for adding 11 new ambulances.
BUSINESS
August 23, 2013 | By Lisa Zamosky
After an outpatient procedure last summer, Sidney Fallender was expecting to go straight home. But when two nurses tried to get the 93-year-old Sherman Oaks resident on his feet, they discovered he was unable to walk on his own. "The doctor told her assistant to call the paramedics," Fallender recalled. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center by ambulance, less than a mile from his doctor's office, for possible emergency surgery. "A couple of weeks later I got a bill for the ambulance service in the amount of almost $1,000," he says.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 15, 2013 | By Kate Linthicum and Ben Welsh
Following criticism from city fire commissioners and union leaders, the Los Angeles Dodgers are dropping a plan to staff home games with city firefighters and ambulances. The deal came under fire last week after LAFD officials acknowledged it required shifting on-duty units from other parts of the city and would result in some cost to taxpayers. Dodgers spokesman Steve Brener said that amid the criticism, the team decided it was better to instead contract with a private ambulance company.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 12, 2013 | By Ben Welsh
The union representing rank-and-file Los Angeles city firefighters has called on the LAFD to end its agreement to provide ambulances at Dodger Stadium home games, an arrangement that has come under fire since officials acknowledged it required shifting on-duty units from other parts of the city and would ask taxpayers to foot part of the bill. Since spring, the LAFD has stationed three ambulances at Dodgers home games to provide medical care. The department planned to prevent the city from paying the cost by staffing the units with off-duty firefighters who volunteered to be paid overtime by the Dodgers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 10, 2013 | By Robert J. Lopez and Kate Mather
As critically injured passengers lay on the runway near the wreckage of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, other passengers pleaded with emergency dispatchers to send ambulances to help the victims, according to 911 tapes released Wednesday. The tapes, released by the California Highway Patrol, offer new information on the initial chaotic moments of Saturday's crash at San Francisco International Airport that left two people dead and 182 injured.  The callers first spoke with CHP dispatchers and then were transferred to medical and fire dispatchers in San Francisco.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 9, 2013 | By Ben Welsh
A draft contract for the Los Angeles Fire Department to continue providing medical care at Dodger Stadium came under criticism from fire commissioners after department officials disclosed that the arrangement has required shifting on-duty units from other areas and will ask taxpayers to foot part of the bill. Since spring, the LAFD has stationed three ambulances at Dodgers home games to provide medical care. The department planned to prevent the city from paying the cost by staffing the units with off-duty firefighters who volunteered to be paid overtime by the Dodgers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 28, 2013 | By Ben Welsh
The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to temporarily continue staffing ambulances added to the Fire Department fleet earlier this year -- although it is unclear how the cost will be covered. Fire Chief Brian Cummings says more ambulances are necessary to handle an increasing number of requests for medical help, which now account for more than 80% of 911 calls. In May, Cummings added 11 ambulances by reassigning one firefighter per shift from 22 firetrucks across the city. That decision was challenged by labor groups and some members of the city Fire Commission, who criticized the fire chief's plan as poorly prepared, and expressed concern that the change could put firefighters at greater risk.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 25, 1996
The driver of a private ambulance that ran a red light in Northridge earlier this month, slamming into a van and killing a Van Nuys father and daughter, has been fired by his company, authorities said. Luis Schaeffer, 21, told detectives he failed to obey the MedTrans of California Inc. policy of slowing down or stopping before going through a red light. Officials from MedTrans--the company that owned the ambulance--declined to comment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 27, 1996 | DARRELL SATZMAN
Four years after first making the request, the Sunland-Tujunga Rotary Club has been given the go-ahead to purchase a surplus ambulance from the city of Los Angeles that it plans to refurbish and donate to the city of Ensenada, Mexico. "The process has moved rather slowly, but it looks like maybe in a couple of weeks we will be able to get our hands on it," said Joe Cohen, president of the Rotary Club.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 2013 | By David Zahniser and Kate Linthicum
Leaders of the Los Angeles city firefighters' union are urging their members to finance  aggressive new political campaigns, saying their salaries are vulnerable and retirement benefits are "under siege. " In a video posted on YouTube , United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112 said it wants each member to pay $38 per paycheck in union dues, up from $19. That money would go to the group's political action committee, which weighs in on elections, and send "a tremendous message" to City Hall, union President Frank Lima said in the video.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 2013 | By Kate Linthicum, David Zahniser and Ben Welsh, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to provide $1.6 million to reverse a controversial new staffing plan at the Fire Department, handing a victory to the employee union that had branded it as unsafe. Over the weekend, the department began shifting 22 firefighters a day from engines to ambulances as part of a plan to improve response times and address an increase in 911 medical calls. On a 12-0 vote, the council provided the money needed to add 11 ambulances to the agency's fleet through June 30 while keeping fire engines fully staffed.
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