July 31, 2018
Fran Spielman
Chicago Sun-Times

Vallas said five new ambulances is not enough to satisfy the need to reduce response times. Chicago needs 25 more ambulances — for a total fleet of 100 — and will get it over a four-year period if he’s elected mayor.

“If you look at the five largest cities in the country-per- capita, we have about 40 percent fewer ambulances than they have in those cities combined,” Vallas said, noting that New York City has “well over 600.”

“The lack of ambulances, the lack of EMS personnel . . . really creates conditions in which you have delays. The other day in the Back of the Yards, a 3-year-old was shot and the police had to transport this 3-year-old to the hospital because there was not an available ambulance.”

A former city budget director, Vallas said the $50 million cost could be paid for by improving ambulance fee collections, more aggressively pursuing insurance companies and by “monetizing” ambulances through “contract services when available” to hospitals, festivals, concerts and sporting events.

“If you are billing and collecting efficiently…each ambulance should pay for itself,” he said.

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