In November 2021, the City of San Diego handed over responsibility for its ambulance services to Falck. The private ambulance provider promised to improve ambulance response times across the city. However, it has fallen short of its lofty goals. The city is now taking action to ensure that San Diegans will be able to get to the hospital on time.
Under the new plan, the city will handle billing and staffing for Falck. It will also be able to hire other companies, meaning that Falck will no longer be an exclusive provider. While the city is still working on the plan, it’s safe to say that things will change in San Diego soon.
Notably, the city is not going to take complete control of ambulance services in the city. In other major California cities, like Los Angeles, the city completely operates all ambulances. The paramedics who work in ambulances are all city employees. That will not be the case in San Diego, where the city is simply becoming more involved in Falck’s services. And it’s a good thing that it’s doing so, because Falck was falling short.
San Diego was unsatisfied with Falck’s ambulance services.
When the city of San Diego awarded Falck its contract, it came with some expectations. Falck promised to provide over 1,000 hours per day of ambulance coverage. That came with the requirement to have the proper amount of medical staff to cover those hours.
Falck has failed to meet those conditions of its contract. It usually provides around 950 hours of coverage per day. While that’s an improvement over San Diego’s last ambulance company, it does represent a breach of its contract with the city.
Negotiations over the transition are ongoing and should continue for a while. Once the city and Falck reach an agreement, implementation of the new plan will take a few months. In the interim, Falck will work side-by-side with another provider to help cover San Diegans.