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Home : News : News
NEWS | June 15, 2023

JBSA, San Antonio build stronger ties through EMS support agreement

By Lori A. Bultman 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The City of San Antonio, also known as Military City USA, has a strong bond with its military neighbors, but Intergovernmental Support Agreements, or IGSAs, are another means of strengthening that bond and saving federal dollars in the process.

The most recent IGSA, established June 15, 2023, allows the city to provide full 911 Emergency Medical Services for Joint Base San Antonio. This will include ground transport, Advanced Life Support, and around the clock services for patients requiring emergency medical transportation from JBSA-Camp Bullis or -Fort Sam Houston, according to the agreement.

Brig. Gen. Russell Driggers, JBSA and the 502d Air Base Wing commander, said IGSAs like this will further strengthen the relationship between JBSA and the city, in addition to enhancing installation capabilities.

“Joint Base San Antonio personnel will continue to provide the initial first response to all medical emergencies, but the additional support from San Antonio’s emergency medical services, their personnel and equipment, will help reduce risk and response times, and will save taxpayer dollars,” he said.

A Best Interest Analysis indicated the San Antonio Fire Department can provide emergency medical support under the agreement at a lower overall cost as compared to private contracts, saving more than $1 million during the five-year agreement, according to Marcus Mattingly, section chief and contracting officer, 502nd Contracting Squadron.   

The move to utilize local resources is not a new relationship between JBSA and the city. The San Antonio Military Health System is already fully integrated into the regional healthcare and response network as part of the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, or STRAC.

Brooke Army Medical Center, located on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, currently receives trauma patients from the STRAC system, and mutual aid agreements within that system allow for a robust response to any major incident within the city or region, Mattingly said.

“The new agreement will provide JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Camp Bullis with access to the same emergency medical services the city offers to its’ residents, with the help of their 1,700 plus personnel, including 400 emergency medical services clinicians and 43 ambulances,” he said.

The new partnership will also facilitate more collaboration between San Antonio and the Department of Defense through joint training and education efforts.    

"The community partner training, continuing education, and joint exercises we complete in conjunction with the City of San Antonio Fire Department help us to meet our mission," said Michael Guzman, JBSA fire chief. "We’re always searching for ways to better serve our JBSA community, and training with our community partners is one more way we can accomplish that."

Dr. (Maj.) Shannon Thompson, JBSA-Emergency Medical Services medical director, said the IGSA is a win-win for JBSA and San Antonio emergency medical services,

“The daily integration of our community partners with our own JBSA response teams will allow for a more robust response to routine and larger scale emergencies, as each call solidifies the necessary communication skills and coordination efforts required to provide the highest quality of patient care, Thompson said. “Through training and working together, we can build upon the strengths of our organizations to create an emergency medical system ready to respond to any situation.”

All emergency medical services provided to JBSA by the San Antonio Fire Department will be carried out in accordance with specific Department of Defense Instruction 6055.06, Department of Defense Manual 6055.06, Air Force Instruction 32-2001, AFI 44-102, Technical Implementation Guide 1710-16, Defense Health Agency policies, and City of San Antonio Office of the Medical Director Protocols.