WalMart today made a major announcement about how the low cost leader will continue to help American families save money. They will soon be test piloting a program of offering private EMS service.In an exclusive interview with CallTheCops Dan Bartlett an executive vice president with the company sat down with us to explain how WalMart EMS came to be. “Our fonder Sam Walton said ‘Listen to your associates. They are the best idea generators’. Each year we have grassroots surveys of our employees. Year after year we keep getting people asking us to do more to support associates who volunteer on fire/EMS services.”
Mr. Bartlett explains that many WalMart stores are in rural and suburban areas. Most rural areas are serviced by volunteer or paid-on-call emergency services. So it stands to reason that at many of their stores a few employees might be members of these volunteer services.
“One day a group of us executives was sitting around talking about what kinds of things we could do to support our associates who volunteer as EMTs. I can’t recall who said it but someone blurted out, that maybe we should own the ambulance. Support our volunteers by paying them their WalMart wage to drive the WalMart ambulance to the call. The logic was amazing.”
After doing some research WalMart brass realized this could be a lucrative new business model. With the power buying ability WalMart has they could buy EMS supplies in bulk at much lower cost than a standard EMS service can.
“We created a win/win system here. Response times will be better because we are using staff at our stores to respond in an ambulance posted at our stores. So the community gets a better, faster EMS response. As a company we have a new income source, billing for EMS services.”
WalMart is in a unique position to run a private EMS service. They can get double duty out of thier EMTs. At a typical full time EMS service, when not on a call the EMTs will post, or park, someplace to wait for a call. Thus these employees are being paid for time they are not actually doing “work”. But WalMart will have their EMTs stocking shelves and running cash registers. So every hour the EMT is working they are providing “work” to the company.
Bartlett closed with this. “Our slogan is ‘Save Money, Live Better’. By us providing EMS services we are truly living up to our slogan. We will be offering EMS services at a lower cost than other private EMS providers. We also will be helping save lives, or helping people live better.”