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City of San Diego gives Falck deadline to correct deficiencies

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Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 20:17:45-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The City of San Diego has given its new ambulance provider a March 17 deadline to correct multiple deficiencies, including a lack of staffing and delayed response times.

If ambulance provider Falck fails to make the changes, the city says it take further action, up to issuing a Notice of Default on the contract.

In a March 7 letter to Falck Managing Director Jeff Behm, the city's Fire-Rescue Department says it has continually communicated its concerns over staffing and response times to the company since it took over ambulance services on Nov. 27, 2021.

"Unfortunately, Falck has still failed to take the steps necessary to remedy these numerous deficiencies," said the letter from Deputy Fire Chief Jodie Pierce.

"The City expects Falck to cure the deficiencies immediately and respond to the City in writing within ten calendar days with confirmation that all deficiencies are resolved."

Falck won the contract over longtime provider AMR, partly because it promised higher levels of staffing. But city officials say Falck is struggling with low staffing hours, high response times, and turnover at key leadership positions. For example, after the contract was signed, its CEO resigned.

In a Team-10 exclusive Tuesday, former employees spoke about the turmoil.

"Unfortunately the low morale and the getting ran into the ground from calls, we had multiple units around the city shut down almost every single day," said former Falck employee Sean Kellhofer.

At a City Public Safety Committee meeting Wednesday, Behm said shortages in December and January were largely due to the Omicron variant.

"The fire department presents a picture of somewhat of the sky falling, but I will tell you that I believe that we're moving in the right direction," Behm said.

The letter from the city says if Falck does not correct the issues by the 17th, it must provide a detailed written response as to how and when it expects to do so.