FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Houston, Tx. August 10, 2021: As the September 1 deadline approaches for Emergency Services District 11 (ESD 11) to take over 911 services from Cypress Creek EMS (CCEMS), the sudden spike in Covid-related emergency needs is revealing problems with the transition plan.
“For months, we have been trying to work with ESD 11 to provide a smooth and orderly transition plan for the residents we have served for 46 years but have been denied at almost every turn,” says Wren Nealy Jr., chief executive officer for CCEMS. “ESD 11 Mobile Health CEO Doug Hooten publicly stated all CCEMS employees who wanted employment with ESD 11 must work through the transition if they wanted to be ensured of a job. I had to stop paid time off for July and August because many of the CCEMS employees planning to work for ESD 11 wanted to take time off for one or both months leading into their new job. An ESD 11 HR employee emailed a CCEMS employee who also works for ESD 11 and stated ‘Your status with CCEMS is no longer a factor in your employment with ESD 11.’ This statement encouraged the CCEMS employee and others to leave early. When I informed Mr. Hooten of this situation, he supported the position statement and abandoned our agreement that would better ensure a safe and orderly transition.”
The ESD’s decision has resulted in a staffing crisis after a number of CCEMS employees, all with separation dates before the transition is complete, have left early. CCEMS is struggling to staff all the regular ambulance shifts. Remaining CCEMS employees have been tirelessly working to cover the openings, but there are too many to address with too few people.
Adding to the staffing shortage is a Covid exposure resulting from an ESD 11 new hire training session that six CCEMS dual-employed people attended. Two days later, ESD 11 notified those employees of the exposure but failed to inform CCEMS of the risk to staff. Today, from the original six people exposed, CCEMS now has 18 quarantined employees.
Now ESD 11 is accusing CCEMS of prioritizing private transfers over 911 calls in yet another distraction tactic by ESD 11. The two transfers were emergency transfers from a local hospital to a higher level of care for emergent surgery and in keeping with long standing critical care policy. The question remains, will ESD 11 be ready to tackle the 911 needs of the District during a pandemic spike?