Police Escort …


Ambulance Cartoon 2While relaxing last night watching TV with my wife I came across this idea.  One of our favorite weekly TV shows to watch is one called “Station 19.”  This is a show about a fire station in Seattle Washington.  This show is actually a spin-off from another popular weekly show called “Gray’s Anatomy.”

Grey’s Anatomy premiered on March 27, 2005 and is now in its 16th Season.  Station 19, on the other hand, premiered on March 22, 2018 and they are in their 3rd Season.  This season these two shows have merged meaning there is some crossover between the two of them on every showing.

The way that Sation 19 got started is that one character of Grey’s Anatomy, a surgeon named Ben Warren who is played by Jason Winston George, and married to surgeon Miranda Bailey, played by Chandra Wilson, decided that he’d rather become a firefighter than a surgeon – so he quit doctoring and joined the fire department and was assigned to Station 19.

In Station 19 episodes when Ben Warren is not putting out fires he is helping the EMT’s that have only a little medical training save victims of fires and auto accidents with his outstanding medical skills as a surgeon.  In the latest episodes he is trying to convince the fire chief and the city of Seattle to re-outfit the ambulances with better medical equipment and a surgeon on each ambulance to improve the life saving abilities of the victims.

In last night’s episode they were transporting a patient that was having a heart attack to the hospital.  Ben was trying to keep the patient alive with CPR and electric shock when the driver got into a traffic jam.  The ambulance came to a standstill and the patient ultimately died because Ben did not have some of the medical equipment on board that he needed.

This got me to thinking …

… as I do when I watch TV.  Not only thinking about the show but how I can use what I’m learning to generate a profit.

My daughter and son-in-law each used to work for Acadian Ambulance Services in Baton Rouge Louisiana several years ago.  I believe they each worked there for about five years before it got to be too much for them.  Working on an ambulance and seeing victims of illness or accident has got to get to you at some point in time, especially when you consider the very low rate of pay.  I guess it takes a special kind of person to do this kind of work – and as first responders – I think they are probably the most important of all first responders.

However, I remember telling Linda and Chrisstiaan (my daughter and son-in-law) that if I ever had a heart attack to leave the ambulance parked, throw me in a car and get me to the hospital.  I said this because I could see that (a) ambulances do not really speed and (b) other drivers pay very little attention to them on busy city streets.

If you google the question “Can an ambulance break the speed limit?” this is the answer you will get:

An ambulance on an emergency or non emergency call shall not exceed the posted speed limit, unless specific approval of each such excess speed is given by the police department. Upon approval, an emergency run may be made at not more than 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

When I asked my daughter about this today she told me this is not necessarily correct.  However, just watch the next time you see an ambulance on an emergency call and you will see them slow down to run red lights (which is smart) but you will rarely see them break the speed limit.  While driving down Interstate 20 the other day I was doing 75 miles per hour (I always do about 5 miles above the limit) and passed an ambulance with lights flashing and siren’s blasting that could not have been doing much more than 70, the posted speed limit.

So I decided to do some more research and ran across this 98 page article by The US Department of Transportation National Highway Safety Administration Office of Emergency Medical Services – Lights and Siren Usage by Emergency Medical Services (EMS): Above All Do No Harm.

When you open this article … go to search and type the work “Speed” and it will take you to every paragraph that has to do with an ambulance speeding.  It basically says the same thing as the answer to the Google Question.  Speeding is allowed if the approval is given by the police department in that city or jurisdiction prior to the speeding … and the maximum allowed is 15 miles per hour above the posted speed.

Now I am sure there are reasons for this … such as the size and weight of the ambulance, the medical shape of the patient in the back and the inexperience of many of the potential ambulance drivers.

Fact is, and she will hate me for saying this, between the time my daughter started driving at age 16 and the time she became and ambulance driver in her 20’s … she had multiple vehicle accidents – and most of them were her fault.  I should not talk … as I was learning to drive I also had 7 accidents in the first two years.

Training …

Ambulances are staffed by Emergency Medical Technician Ambulance Operators (EMT AOs) maintain an EMT 1 certification or greater and primarily serve as an ambulance operator while also providing basic medical care to patients including bandaging wounds, taking vital signs, splinting limbs, providing CPR, and moving patients.

Certification is minimal to become an EMT is minimal— it only takes 120 to 150 hours of training (paramedics require significantly more).  I have no idea how much or if any of these hours are spent in driver education and practice.  Paramedic courses can be between 1,200 to 1,800 hours.  To become a registered Nurse your looking at four years of College (but again, no driver training at high speed).

Income Potential …

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ambulance drivers across the United States earned an average wage of $11.68 per hour as of May 2011, and reported an average annual income of $24,300.  Pay for Paramedics and nurses are much higher according to the BLS. Paramedics earned a median annual salary of $31,020 in 2012, while RNs earned $65,470 a year.  This is probably why more ambulances are staffed with EMTs and not Paramedics and Nurses – let a lone Doctors.

What would be better than a doctor on board?

This is what I was thinking about last night … How about a police escort?

Police Escort

Have you ever noticed how every funeral procession has a police escort to get them through red lights and clear ordinary traffic out of the way.  I’ve even seen cars on the other side of the street pull over and stop for these escorts.

Now some states have laws that require you to pull over and stop while other states don’t.  Rarely does the law require you in any state require you to pull over if the Funeral Procession is on the other side of the road coming at you … yet most people pull over out of a sign of respect for the deceased person and their loved ones, regardless of what side of the road the procession is on.

So why don’t we have police escorts to escort an ambulance from the scene of a problem (fire, accident or other emergency) to the local hospital.  It seems to me it would allow the ambulance to get there much faster and safer.

How many times have you passed an accident on the side of the road to see 4 to 6 police cars and 1 to 2 ambulances.  The ambulances are loaded up and sent on their way to fight the traffic all the way to the hospital with potentially dying people on board while the police cars stay behind at the accident scene.  You can’t believe all those police officers are needed to investigate the accident or direct traffic around the accident.  Some could be used as escorts – but they are simply not.  Why Not???

That is a question that likely will not get answered until some city official decides it is in the best interest of all in the community to require it.  Then  of course, laws would have to be written by state legislators and enforced by governor and mayor offices.  Something that for practical purposes is way above my minimal pay grade.  However, if I owned an ambulance company it may be something that I would push for.

Is there an investment angle here?

As I was researching for this article I got to thinking about the cost to be transported in an ambulance and about how many ambulance companies there are in American.

If you’re lucky enough to live in a city where your taxes cover the cost of ambulance services if your insurance does not (and many insurance policies do not cover it), the cost can be a staggering $224 to $2,204 according to a 2012 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.  I read one story where one family got stuck with the $1,100 bill for a 6.7 mile ride. That’s more than $164 per mile – and some think the cost of Taxi’s and Uber or Lyft is high.

As for number of companies in the US?

There are probably around ten thousand ambulance companies in the United States. Many are small, volunteer one or two ambulance operations. There is one huge national private ambulance company with thousands of ambulances (American Medical Response) and about half a dozen very large private ambulance companies (Acadian, etc) with hundreds of ambulances.

At this time there are no publicly traded ambulance companies I could find.  There once was but these have either been bought up by corporate raiders  and hedge funds like Bain Capital (Mitt Romney’s old firm) or have been taken private off the market.

To invest in a private company a person must be very rich, like President Trump or Michael Bloomberg – and be willing to lose a lot.

I did find one public company that would be close an ambulance company and this is Provident Services (PRSC) on the NASDAQ Exchange.  This is what Hedge Fund Manager Boris Marjanovic had to say about this company a couple of years ago:

Summary

  • Providence is poised to deliver low- to mid-teens revenue growth on the back of increasing medical transportation demand and acquisitions.
  • Profits should grow even faster as margins expand, thanks to various cost saving initiatives currently being implemented.
  • The company’s shares currently offer a very attractive risk/award opportunity with 45+% upside potential over the next 12-24 months.

Let’s see if he was right.  He made this statement in an article on August 17, 2017.  I did not sign up for his newsletter so I have no idea if he changed his opinion later.

On April 17, 2017 this stock closed at $43.58 per share.  Just 12 months later (04/16/2018) this stock closed at $75.78 per share – Up about $32.30 per share or 73.887%.  24 months later (04/16/2019) this stock closed at $66.76 – Up $20.18 or 46.30% from the starting price … but down $9.02 or 11.90% from the 04/16/2018 price.  Over the 12 and 24 month period Mr. Marjanovic called it right.

Since 04/17/2019 through this period I am writing this (02/07/2020), the stock has closed at between 52.89 and $70.92 and currently stands at $65.65.  A Graph of this stock can be seen below:

PRSC

The white lines represent support and resistance lines. The stock should have the first level of support at around $62.91 and the second level of support around $60.91.  It has resistance at $67.52 and $71.87.  At this time I am not buying this stock.  I will place it on my watch list and if the price breaks $67.52 I may go in with a little money and if it goes above $71.87 I’d invest more money.  I like to buy when the stock is headed up rather than when the stock is headed down.  However, this still is not going to help in getting into actual Ambulance companies … but it could get close as possible.

Description of Company …

The Providence Service Corporation provides healthcare services in the United States. It operates through Non-Emergency Transportation Services (NET Services) and Matrix Investment segments. The NET Services segment offers non-emergency medical transportation services for Medicaid or Medicare eligible members, whose limited mobility or financial resources hinder their ability to access necessary healthcare and social services. The Matrix Investment segment provides home and mobile-based healthcare services, including comprehensive health assessments, quality gap closure visits, level of service needs assessments, and post-acute and chronic care management services through a network of community-based clinicians, and a fleet of mobile health clinics. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.

Until next time … invest a few dollars into something and make a few waves.

Jerry Nix | Freewavemaker, LLC

Disclaimer

The information shared in this article is not meant as investment advice. Before acting on any of these investments referenced herein that was meant for education only, please check with a qualified professional like a financial planner or broker that you may be working with. These investments may not be right for you at this time.  The writer of this article does not own any of the investments mentioned in this article.

 

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