A committee established to find a consultant to evaluate proposed changes to Pinellas' emergency medical services system says the county should spend almost $300,000 to do the job.
The decision to recommend that the County Commission hire the highest bidder for the job — Fitch & Associates of Platte City, Mo. — came Monday after presentations from two of the four bidders. One presentation came from Fitch, which wants $298,600 to see if the proposals work. The other came from the lowest bidder, Tri Data Division — System Planning Corp., Arlington, Va., which said it could do the study for $99,639.
In making the recommendation, committee members said they were impressed by a computer program that Fitch demonstrated. The program would allow officials to quickly run various scenarios to see how they would affect fire and EMS coverage and response times.
County Administrator Bob LaSala has said the county must change the EMS system because it is not financially sound in the long run. LaSala last year suggested cutting the number of firefighter-paramedics the county pays for and reducing the number of emergency medical vehicles on the road. Some firefighters countered with an alternate plan that would have firefighters take sick people to the hospital.
The committee's recommendation is scheduled to go before the County Commission at its July 24 meeting. The commission has wide latitude in deciding whether to follow the recommendation.