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EMSA scheduling metrics raise concerns as company grapples with current staffing shortages and wait times for ambulances

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City’s largest ambulance service has sent a memo to its employees indicating a change in its schedule settings for part-time employees.

The memo says the decision is intended to best streamline operational staffing and planning efforts. EMSA does not fire anyone.

Some believe, however, that EMSA is forcing people out amid the current jobs crisis.

The memo tells employees that if they want to stay part-time, they have two options. Shifts are 24 hours per week with 12 hours per shift. Part-time workers can choose either a static schedule – working the same weekend day and the same weekday per month – or a dynamic (floating) schedule, where they choose their weekday and weekend one months in advance.

“It’s very frustrating and really disheartening,” said Tabitha Coffey.

Coffey said her husband and other people she knows worked part-time at EMSA to help out for 20 years.

She said some of these people were working full-time and she feared this would force them to leave EMSA due to the lack of flexibility.

The move comes as EMSA faces delayed response times and staff shortages.

“It’s just a terrible situation right now,” Coffey said. “But they’re only making it worse with it.”

You may recall that the KFOR investigation found that staffing shortages at EMSA resulted in long waiting times for some families.

In this story, just over a year ago, the average response time for a life-threatening call was over 11 minutes. For a non-life-threatening call, it lasted over 18 minutes.

For March of this year in Oklahoma City, response times are 24 minutes for non-life-threatening calls and just under 11 minutes for life-threatening calls.

EMSA issued a statement to KFOR which can be read below.

“EMSA has simply adjusted our part-time employment parameters to best meet the needs of the communities we serve and the patients who rely on us. EMSA has not fired or terminated any team member.

Adam Paluka, Director of Public Affairs

A spokesperson also mentioned that this is to ensure that there are the appropriate number of employees to meet the needs of 911 and the guaranteed filling of shifts.

“They’re forcing people’s hand to say ‘hey, you have to go because we’re making those parameters so narrow that it’s not doable for the majority of people,'” Coffey said. “They force people who have great experience and, I mean, they’ve been with them through everything.”

This decision also comes 4 to 5 months after the resignation of EMSA’s CEO.

More than a year has also passed since the transfer of ownership when EMSA separated from American Medical Response.

The memo also says part-timers could stay full-time, but it doesn’t give a salary or hours they could work.

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