Pensacola, Florida
Friday July 19th 2019

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Outtakes—CYA Management

By Rick Outzen

The Emergency Medical Services problems may have provided us with an unintended view behind the curtain into how Escambia County government functions.

Interim County Administrator Amy Lovoy told the commissioners last week that she wanted to expedite the certification training of five EMS employees. She said, “They should get three quotes for abbreviated ones to take care of the five people in question, which would have been way less than $50,000.”

Tamika Williams, the Public Safety business operations manager, said the emergency PO was brought to her attention on Jan. 30. After meeting with Lovoy and Senior Purchasing Coordinator Paul Nobles, the decision was made for Fire Chief Rusty Nail to seek additional quotes from nonprofit organizations. On Feb. 15, Chief Nail said he would get additional quotes, but Williams never heard back from him.

Lovoy, Nobles and Williams could all check boxes that they did their part. Their butts were covered. However, three months later, no one has been hired to do the training.

None of them followed up with the medical director, Dr. Rayme Edler, or Chief Nail on what was happening with the additional quotes. According to Williams’ statements to the commissioners, she didn’t get back involved until April 10, after Public Safety Director Mike Weaver resigned and when Lovoy and Assistant County Administrator Matt Coughlin asked Williams to get the bidding process complete.

The procurement appears to have been dumped on Dr. Edler, who told the board that she had been in discussions with Baptist Hospital and Pensacola State College on developing an EMS training program. It appears no one helped her.

Commissioner Robert Bender pointed out this problem last week. He said, “We are not providing our directors and high-level employees the proper training and going through a procurement process.”

Edler wanted to revamp the entire EMS training program and add more hands-on education opportunities. Based on the stories we’ve heard from families who have lost loved ones while in the care of EMS over the past few years, we agree with the medical director. What’s unclear is whether Edler was given the guidance and support to accomplish her goal.

Lovoy went for the quick fix in January—do “triage” on the five employees who immediately needed certifications. The quick fix was anything but quick, and it appears the only thing achieved was kicking the issue down the chain-of-command. And the lesson learned is, don’t worry about solving a problem; just make sure you have an email trail to cover your ass.

Repeatedly at last week’s commission meeting, we were told that the public shouldn’t worry about the quality of care they receive from EMS. However, we have no proof, only their word—which worries me.