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Mayor Bowser Highlights Reforms in the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, Announces New Legislation to Help Residents Cover Cost of Ambulance Transport

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Chief Gregory Dean to highlight the significant improvements made at FEMS in just two years. Under the Bowser Administration, the Department has made a number of reforms to ensure the city is delivering the most immediate, responsible, and appropriate level of care to all residents and visitors who call 911 seeking medical assistance. 

“Over the past two years, I have remained committed to fulfilling my promise to fix our Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, and we will keep the improvements going – the people of DC deserve nothing less,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through filling vacancies, improving our fleet, and making key improvements to 911 and 311 operations, we have created an emergency response system that both residents and first responders can rely on and trust. And with over 17,000 people trained in hands-only CPR through our Hands On Hearts program, we have more Washingtonians ready to help their neighbors in the event of a life-threatening cardiac emergency.”

Since 2015, the Bowser Administration has filled critical vacancies, hiring an additional 45 firefighter paramedics and 48 firefighter EMTs as well as accepting 36 cadets into the Fire Cadet Program. In addition, the Administration has dramatically improved DC’s previously depleted apparatus fleet, putting 34 new or refurbished ambulances and 12 new or refurbished ladder trucks and engines on the street.

“Members of the DC Fire and EMS Department are thankful to Mayor Bowser for her staunch support of FEMS,” said FEMS Chief Dean. “Since Mayor Bowser took office, the Department has been able FEMS has been able to handle an increase in 911 calls with improved unit availability and lower response times. FEMS still has much work to do, but with the Mayor’s fearless support, the Department is now better positioned to deliver excellent medicine and assistance to anyone who calls 911 for our help.”

At the event, Mayor Bowser also announced that in the coming weeks she will introduce the Affordable Emergency Transportation and Pre-Hospital Medical Services Amendment Act of 2017, legislation that will help close gaps in insurance coverage and ensure that more District residents have access to emergency medical care by requiring insurance companies to cover the costs associated with emergency ambulance and pre-hospital medical services.

The Mayor also released the final Integrated Healthcare Collaborative (I.H.C.) report. The I.H.C. is an initiative led by FEMS Interim Medical Director Dr. Robert Holman that seeks to provide alternative and medically responsible care for DC’s many noncritical 911 callers. The goal of the I.H.C. is to connect patients with primary care providers who are better positioned to treat and care for patients’ long-term medical needs. See below for a link to the report.