Fiscal Year 2018 Recommended Budget

Beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2018


Promoting a proactive and agile Boston EMS through data

In FY18, Mayor Walsh will launch a data-driven initiative to change the way Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are deployed.

Working with the Citywide Analytics Team, Boston EMS identified the particular 911 incident types that warranted the most ambulances responses that did not end up requiring a transport.

Diving into the calls

Utilizing dispatch data

Calls that don't end up requiring a transport result in a twofold challenge for Boston: not only do these calls tie-up ambulances for a low-acuity patients, but they prevent ambulances from responding to other calls.

Utilizing dispatch data, EMS also found that these call types are clustered in certain areas of the city.
The clustering of these incidents suggests that they warrant a different type of emergency medical care. As a result, the FY18 budget includes funding for a Community Assistance Team to pursue a more agile and proactive response to emergency services.

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Putting the funding to work

FY18 funding enables EMS to hire EMTs that will be deployed on rotating schedules in non-transport vehicles to triage call types in Downtown Boston and the Recovery Road area. Working in coordination with the City’s outreach street teams, the responding unit will assess the acuity of the patient and the need for an ambulance transport to the hospital.

Community Assistance Team

If an ambulance transport is unnecessary, the Community Assistance Team will work with other existing city programs to ensure the patient is directed to the most appropriate services, when necessary. This approach will result in better patient outcomes in addition to improving ambulance utilization by only dispatching ambulances when a transport is required.

Reducing response times

The Community Assistance teams build on the Administration’s FY17 investment to reduce EMS response times by adding 20 EMTs and purchasing 10 replacement ambulances. Thanks to Boston's investment in 20 EMTs in FY17, this year’s budget achieves a 10% reduction in EMS overtime and an 8% increase in EMS third party billing revenue. These changes generate a $4.1 million net savings for the City in FY18.