Integrating MAST is the Right Choice for Kansas City

By Jan Marcason

In an effort to ensure the highest quality care, the City Council designated a committee comprised of medical professionals, financial officers of the city, and union representatives to study the city’s ambulance system. The issues considered by the Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee were patient care and governance.

We are fortunate that the current EMS system in Kansas City provides excellent patient care. If that were the only consideration, there would be no compelling reason to change the current system.

However, the public utility model that has governed MAST for more than 30 years is no longer the preferred governance structure across the country. There are only a few cities that still use this model. Most cities have either incorporated emergency medical services as a city department, developed a structure under their fire or health department, contract with area hospitals, and some directly contract with private providers. The reasons include eliminating duplicative back-office functions, ensuring seamless coordination, streamlining management, and cost-control.

The recommendation of the committee was that MAST should begin the process of integration as a stand-alone city department. The City Council voted to develop this plan over the next 6-12 months. There are many issues to work out in the plan: legal, financial, and personnel issues.

The city is committed to maintaining its quality MAST personnel. The City Council agreed to allow MAST employees living outside city limits to remain in their current homes. If an employee moves, he or she must move into Kansas City. Consistent with current residency requirements, all new hires must live in Kansas City.

Kansas Citians are fortunate to have excellent quality emergency services. Integrating the EMS as a part of the city’s total emergency response system will reassure our residents that in the case of an emergency we can address a single event or a major catastrophe efficiently and effectively.

Jan Marcason is a Kansas City, Missouri City Councilwoman for Fourth District, In-District.



Just an update on what is going on with Mast. Everyone still has a job, excepted Doug Hooten. It would appear the idea that people were going to be fired in droves was again a little far fetched. If you really want to know why the Mast people are so upset you should take a look at the propaganda Jason White produced prior to the merger. He is a manager with Mast, and you may get a better handle on why everyone is so upset. This was posted on the Mast intranet sigh almost every day during this process, and it explains a lot.I would also pay close attention to Mast response times, and collection rates. I have a pretty good idea they are going to drop significantly. Not because they are billing with less employees or because the call volume has dropped? It is also going through Mast that we are not going to make response times in June. I am not sure if that occurred but I have never seen as many ambulances on the streets as I did last month.It would appear these numbers have fallen off since the heads of city offices have been visiting Mast?? The only numbers that were produced came from Mast with no official form of Audit or oversight. It just seems interesting that things may not have been as rosy as the picture Mast painted….Just a thought.


I find it interesting that someone continually comes on stating they represent the voice of MAST or KCFD. The simple truth is we don’t know if MAST employees are posting for KCFD or vise versa. What I do know is during this time the only MAST employee to lose his job has been Doug Hooten. I find it hard to feel bad for Mr. Hooten after serving only four years he received over $400,000.00 dollars in immediate compensation, and will receive six months of his rather generous salary he had established for himself for consulting?? If you add his salary and the recent severance package together in just four short years he “Doug Hooten” collected well over one million tax payer dollars. This is far more than any other city employee received. This is considered “Fiscally Responsible” I think not. The “Fiscally Responsible” part must of fell on the shoulders of those who did not receive generous year end bonuses. I find it difficult to believe the vast majority of Mast employees would not want a pension. The Mast employees do currently have a self directed form of retirement at this time, but do not feel worthy of receiving a city pension? And just to be clear all city employees have self directed funds, and a pension. I will end this by saying just five short years ago Mast in essence dissolved a company that provided the EMS service in Kansas City. This was an employee owned company, and cost those non-management “Mast Employees” many thousands in stock value. The reason this was done was to “Consolidate Services” at a cost savings of four to six million dollars a year. This same process now applies to Mast and somehow we should feel bad?? This is one Mast employee that feels what is good for the goose is good for the gander. These are facts anyone can look up. If someone else can provide anything other than the “Sky is falling” mentality, and back it up with facts I am all ears. Current Mast Employee


First,Jan ,all you have really heard is Louie Wright's and John Sharp's side of the story. You were not at the "blue ribbon committee meetings" as John Sharp was. I was also there as were many other employees who spoke AGAINST the takeover. Many will lose their jobs. The 'duplication' they refer to will not be true because when you hire 300 people, your need for more attorneys, billing people, HR staff, and payroll will be necessary to accommodate the unusual hours of EMS. Not to mention the 12% the city must contribute to the pension for the extra employees. As for the person who says we work in terrible conditions...HOGWASH! Police sit in cars all day, ATA bus drivers sit in buses all day, my friend who works at a fiberglass factory sits on a high loader all day...none of them have a kitchen to cook in, a gym to work our in, and many use public restrooms. We do not have to sit all day. We can get out and walk for our health,stretch, have a multitude of choices for food , go to stores we would not be able to if we were stuck in a station. We have it pretty damned good! best job in the world!


The petition to put this junk to a vote is going well. Thankfully, voters will have the last word and they're not so easily influenced by the shady behind the scenes dealings. Democracy thrives in the light, not the dark of the council chambers.


The system IS broken. So many MAST emloyees work in terrible conditions; they spend entire shifts in the cab of their vehicles or sitting in parking lots waiting for calls. They have to use public restrooms and can literally be driving for 8 to 10 hours a shift, causing fatigue and physical problems. They cannot cook a meal, or have other basic, dignified working conditions. You say you're a MAST employee, my feeling is that your comments and viewpoints are not shared by the majority of your colleagues.


Jan, you should really be ashamed of yourself for supporting this. Did you get some plan that is hidden from the public? Because as a MAST employee, I can assure you that you not only cost the city MUCH more money in the future, but trashed our benefits and work conditions.Just an FYI, MAST hasn't been a public utility model since 2005. And these "savings" that you tout -- where are the facts? I went to all the meetings. The only people with facts was MAST management. The union, vis a vis KCFD, had no concrete numbers, no facts.What this looks like and perhaps you can correct me if I'm wrong, is a land grab by special interests. But the vote has been cast and it is my children that will pay for what you and the rest of the city council has done.


Why fix it if it ain't broken?


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