OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City’s largest ambulance service issued a memo to its employees stating a change in its scheduling parameters for part-time employees.
The memo states the move is to best streamline operational staffing and scheduling efforts. EMSA is not firing anyone.
Some believe, though, that EMSA is forcing people out amid a current employment crisis.
The memo tells employees if they want to remain on staff part time, they have two options. The shifts are 24 hours per week at 12 hours per shift. Part-timers can choose either a static schedule – working the same weekend day and weekday per month – or they can do a dynamic (float) schedule, where they choose their weekday and weekend day one month in advance.
“It’s very frustrating and it’s really disheartening,” said Tabitha Coffey.
Coffey said her husband and other people she knows have worked at EMSA part-time to help for 20 years.
She said some of those people work full-time jobs and she’s afraid this may force them out at EMSA due to the lack of flexibility.
This move comes as EMSA deals with delayed response times and staffing shortages.
“It’s just a terrible situation right now,” Coffey said. “But they’re just making it worse by this.”
You may remember KFOR’s investigation finding staffing shortages at EMSA led to long wait times for some families.
In that story, just over one year ago, the average response time for a life-threatening call was over 11 minutes. For a non-life-threatening call, it was over 18 minutes.
For March of this year in Oklahoma City, response times are sitting at 24 minutes for non-life-threatening calls and just under 11 minutes for life-threatening calls.
EMSA released a statement to KFOR that can be read below.
“EMSA has simply adjusted our parameters for part-time employment to best meet the needs of the communities we serve and patients who rely on us. EMSA has not laid off or fired any team members.”Adam Paluka, Chief Public Affairs Officer
A spokesperson also mentioned it’s to make sure there’s the appropriate number of staff to meet the needs of 911 and the guaranteed filling of shifts.
“They’re forcing people’s hand at, ‘hey, you’ve got to go because we’re making these parameters so narrow that it’s not doable for the majority of people,’” Coffey said. “They’re forcing out people who have vast amounts of experience and, I mean, they’ve been with them through everything.”
The move also comes 4 to 5 months after the CEO of EMSA resigned.
It’s also been over one year since a transition of ownership when EMSA parted ways with American Medical Response.
The memo also states that the part-time employees could stay on full-time, but it doesn’t give a salary or hours they could work.