Letters From the Issue of Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ambulance Chasers

Got no soul: Once again we see how Bob Ramsey and Pat Cantelme play this little game ("Emergency Brake," Sarah Fenske, November 9). A game that is played at the expense of sick and injured people. As an employee of Southwest Ambulance, it is disconcerting to see my company sell its soul and sacrifice its integrity for a contract with a fire department. If PMT (Ramsey and Cantelme's company) wants this, let them have it. At least Southwest will have its integrity. Ask the rank and file at PMT how much they like it there. Find out how many paramedics and EMTs have defected to Southwest. Ask the Scottsdale fire department how much they miss Southwest lately.
Eric Johnson, via Internet

Flashing lights: In her story, Sarah Fenske states, "When Scottsdale officials were picking an ambulance company to handle 911 calls last year, they didn't look at the factors you might assume would be at issue."

In fact, the panel of five experts looked at 35 different categories including response times, deployment plans, clinical expertise, training, personnel, vehicles, experience, and dispatch capabilities, as well as enhancements. PMT Ambulance was rated superior in 31 out of the 35 categories.

Based on actual performance, it is clear they made the correct choice. PMT's response times for the entire 180-square-mile city averaged five minutes and 36 seconds in September, the most recent month with available data. That is not just the fastest 911 ambulance response times in the history of the city of Scottsdale, but the fastest ambulance response times in the state of Arizona.

The Automatic External Defibrillators throughout Scottsdale save lives; we happen to think that is a good thing. And yes, we do staff some of our ambulances with firefighters (none on an overtime basis), and we believe this type of integrated public/private partnership benefits the citizens.

If the reporter had bothered to call me or the Department of Health Services, she would have found that none of the so-called enhancements can be included in future rate increases. This was a glaring deletion in your story. We specifically agreed to exclude them in the calculation for future rate increases. Ms. Fenske also would have found out that Rural/Metro-Southwest provides "enhancements" to cities across the Southwest, even boasting of them in a mailer in Roswell, New Mexico. It is a practice they initiated, not PMT.

As a matter of policy, we are a private company not subject to the whims of Wall Street like Rural/Metro-Southwest Ambulance. As a result, we have a terrific business plan of smaller profits that help provide a superior level of service to Scottsdale, Chandler and any other city that we may choose to bid on.

PMT has successfully broken Rural/Metro-Southwest's quasi-monopoly on the emergency ambulance business. The citizens are the ones who are now benefiting from the new competition with faster response times, dedicated ambulances, Computer Aided Dispatch, and automatic external defibrillators. So who does not benefit from the service PMT is providing in Scottsdale except our competitor?

New Times has always been supportive of entrepreneurs, innovation and the dissolution of monopolistic conditions — three items that embody PMT's approach to business. We remain hopeful that this paper will rediscover its soul and cease siding with another company that embodies everything New Times usually confronts.
Pat Cantelme, CEO, PMT, 911 Emergency Services

Editor's note: Sarah Fenske did place three calls each to the DHS spokesman and Cantelme's spokeswoman. DHS returned one call, then did not return two more. Cantelme's spokeswoman called back, but it was after deadline.

Guv Story

Come out of the closet: What's with all the ruff 'n' tuffians coming to Governor Manet Nappy's defense with such vehemence and bravado, then withholding their names like the scared little pussies they are (Letters, November 9)? Are they feeling a certain amount of empathy toward the Janet-nator, or do they work with, around and for her? Go back to the safety of your closets, Manet-wimpathizers, where your upper-lip hair remains safely concealed from the eyes of those who may notice and comment!
Name withheld by request

Personal attack: I would like to say that this country is really in sad shape when the media (your paper especially) cannot find anything intelligent to say about our governor other than the vile, crass and totally meaningless evaluation on Janet Napolitano's sexual orientation ("Reality Check," The Bird, Stephen Lemons, November 2). That article is quite disgusting, unprofessional and full of idiotic diatribe. Isn't it amazing that no matter how good she is, the only thing you can pounce on is the fact that you think she is a closet gay?!!! WHO CARES???
Jacqueline L. Permenter, Scottsdale

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