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Few surprises in final study of Pinellas emergency medical services

Published Jul. 10, 2013

The final report analyzing the Pinellas County emergency medical services system varied little from one delivered in late May. Fitch & Associates, the consulting firm paid $300,000 to conduct the study, released its latest findings Tuesday.

They included:

• A proposal by Pinellas County administrator Bob LaSala to eliminate rescue units — the vehicles that look like ambulances — would save millions but also increase costs on heavy vehicles and be unsustainable in the long run.

• A proposal to allow firefighters to take patients to the hospital would increase workloads beyond safe levels. More personnel would have to be hired to offset the shortages, which would increase costs.

• The county should consider "turning off" at least some rescue crews that work late nights and early mornings. The estimated savings from the shorter work periods is $6.3 million.

The release came on a day when Pinellas County Commissioners had already gotten the gloomy news that they would possibly face another property tax hike to pay for EMS in the coming year. LaSala said he plans to recommend upping it by 8 percent, the third increase in as many years.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at


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