LINCOLN, Neb. — A private company is taking over the Lincoln fire department’s responsibility of responding to first aid calls inside the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s stadium during football season.

Midwest Medical will replace Lincoln Fire and Rescue under a new agreement starting Saturday. The private provider will render first aid and give minor medical care to fans inside Memorial Stadium, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .

Lincoln Fire and Rescue officials said money paid to the department for providing standby medical care at games hasn’t covered expenses in recent years. University officials say the deal with Midwest Medical will save Nebraska Athletics about $3,600 a game.

“The arrangement will allow us to be fiscally responsible in providing quality medical services for fans for the duration of the event, to reduce the burden on city medical resources and to improve the overall availability of ambulances throughout the city on game day,” said Steve Smith, a spokesman for the university.

Fire Chief Micheal Despain said the department will still provide emergency medical services outside the stadium and will transport patients from inside the stadium to the hospital if necessary. He said the department will staff nine fewer employees on football game days and that standby ambulances can be used on other calls as needed.

“Sometimes to chase that business is a detriment to our primary mission to provide 911 emergency transport,” Despain said.

Midwest Medical’s contract runs through June 2018 and is expected to provide medical services at all athletic events on campus, Smith said. More than 20 Midwest Medical staff members will be on duty inside the stadium and emergency room physicians will now oversee medical care at first-aid stations.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com