KCUR News
12:45 am
Fri March 20, 2009

City Moves Toward MAST Takeover

Kansas City, MO –
After several years of debate, the city council has started mapping a new future for Kansas City's ambulance service. MAST won't stay an independent organization, but it won't become part of the fire department, either.

A committee that has been studying the ambulance question reports that MAST has been doing fine, with good response times and one of the best cardiac victim survival rates in the nation. But the panel also said the city can ultimately save a million dollars a year by making the now nonprofit ambulance a separate city department.

Budget director Troy Schulte explained that the savings could be realized by consolidating "back office" support services, such as human resources, legal counsel, purchasing and information technology into existing city operations.

The council put an ordinance into the hopper that would instruct the city manager to come up with a plan for taking over the ambulance service. The ordinance allows time for careful planning to maintain the present quality of service.

The council also formally approved a new benefits plan for city employees. Council members say it will save the city $6 million in the coming year and lay the groundwork for larger savings through self-insurance.