EMSA pay, scheduling changes give medics more time off
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Friday, December 28, 2012
12/28/12 at 6:05 AM
A change in pay and scheduling for EMSA medics gives give them an additional day off each pay period while keeping their pay the same, officials said.
Medics are now working seven 12-hour shifts every two weeks instead of eight and received a pay raise to make up that difference, a scheduling plan that EMSA officials said they think will increase retention rates and give medics more time to rest between shifts.
"We feel that it's the right thing to do for our employees," said John Peterson, chief operating officer for Paramedics Plus, the contractor that is supervised by EMSA. "It gives them a more flexible schedule.
"Each employee got a 12 percent hourly raise," he said. "They make the same amount a year, but they work 12 less hours a pay period, or six less hours a week."
The Emergency Medical Services Authority is a government agency that oversees contracted medical services in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro areas.
The medics will also have the opportunity to have more weekends off on the current schedule, Peterson said. The reduction adds up to about 26 days off every year, he said.
To make up for that reduction in hours, Peterson said, the authority has started hiring more paramedics. With the new hires and the pay raise, the new schedule will come at a cost to the Tulsa area of about $1 million, he said.
Peterson, who started at Paramedics Plus earlier this year, said he initiated the change this year to make practices better for the medics and improve care. It is the first major shift in how medics are scheduled since the agency began, he said.
Peterson said that by giving medics more time off, they have more time to rest before their next shift and be more alert.
It's an effort to improve quality of life for employees in the competitive market, he said.
"We had quite a few shifts here - especially if you were a new employee - where you worked every weekend," Peterson said. "We have people out there who aren't quite as tired, so I think that's good."
Since the change started in November, medics have generally preferred the new system, he said.
"I've heard a lot of good things," Peterson said. "There's a couple of senior employees that liked the way things were, but that's kind of the way things go with changes like this."
EMSA has come under fire this year related to the authority's billing practices. An investigation by the Tulsa World led the agency's board to initiate a state audit, which is expected to be released in January.
Original Print Headline: Pay, scheduling changes add time off for medics
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310