What do Palm Desert & Riverside (SoCal) Opportunities Look Like?

Broomhead

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This summer, I'll likely be transferring my paramedic license from out of state to look after my grandfather for a year or two. I'm a fairly green medic used to a broad scope of practice (but fine with a limited scope), and I'll be bringing a bachelor's with me. My career goal is mostly to get experience before heading for medical school in a few years, but money's nice too. Fine working 911, hospital (if you guys do that there?), I'd look askance at IFT but I'm not against it.

The main thrust of my question is what I should expect interviewing in Riverside and Palm Desert as a paramedic. I'd also be curious to hear about the fine print on signing bonuses (for example, staying in for 5 years isn't going to fly for me), if there's work conditions to look out for (turf wars, etc). A little more specifically, someone mentioned the idea of netting a travel contract, finishing that out, and then applying to work full-time with a department. That sounds unlikely to me, but I actually haven't heard much information either way.

Thanks in advance for any and all responses.
 

DesertMedic66

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All 911 ALS ambulances are operated by American Medical Response in the entire county of Riverside, aside from a select number of fire departments. All ALS IFT are also handled by AMR.

The only 2 places to work as a medic in Riverside county are with a fire department or with AMR. There are no hospital based EMS units in the county.

Typically the sign on bonus you will have to sign either a 2 or 3 year prorated contract with the company.
 

Mitchellmvhs

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This summer, I'll likely be transferring my paramedic license from out of state to look after my grandfather for a year or two. I'm a fairly green medic used to a broad scope of practice (but fine with a limited scope), and I'll be bringing a bachelor's with me. My career goal is mostly to get experience before heading for medical school in a few years, but money's nice too. Fine working 911, hospital (if you guys do that there?), I'd look askance at IFT but I'm not against it.

The main thrust of my question is what I should expect interviewing in Riverside and Palm Desert as a paramedic. I'd also be curious to hear about the fine print on signing bonuses (for example, staying in for 5 years isn't going to fly for me), if there's work conditions to look out for (turf wars, etc). A little more specifically, someone mentioned the idea of netting a travel contract, finishing that out, and then applying to work full-time with a department. That sounds unlikely to me, but I actually haven't heard much information either way.

Thanks in advance for any and all responses.
Emt with AMR in the riverside division. From what I’ve heard management is better with the hemet and Palm Springs division.

I’m also saying this as an emt not a medic so take what I say as a grain of salt since I’m obviously not a medic. But from my understanding but our scope is pretty limited compared to national. But that seems to be California as a whole. BLS in riverside don’t even have Pulse ox’s or glucometers.

No Crics. No RSI. Peds are also not allowed to be intubated in riverside co. As far as I know. As for Narcs we only carry fentanyl, ketamine, and midazolam.
 
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Broomhead

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Gotcha, Desert. When I mention hospital, that's just because I know some hospitals out where I'm from hire paramedics on as IV gophers, but figured that was a long shot since they prefer more experienced medics anyways. That signing bonus - ever heard of someone getting hired without it? I figure they need hands, but could see them not wanting someone who'll just be in and out.

Mitchell - the idea of pulse ox & glucometry being ALS blows my mind, but I think I remember that from getting my Basic in cali. Thanks for the information, though, just to set expectations. If you don't mind me asking, what's turnover like? I've heard 2 and I've heard 7 around where I work, partially volume partially management. No worries if you're not comfortable saying.
 

Mitchellmvhs

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Gotcha, Desert. When I mention hospital, that's just because I know some hospitals out where I'm from hire paramedics on as IV gophers, but figured that was a long shot since they prefer more experienced medics anyways. That signing bonus - ever heard of someone getting hired without it? I figure they need hands, but could see them not wanting someone who'll just be in and out.

Mitchell - the idea of pulse ox & glucometry being ALS blows my mind, but I think I remember that from getting my Basic in cali. Thanks for the information, though, just to set expectations. If you don't mind me asking, what's turnover like? I've heard 2 and I've heard 7 around where I work, partially volume partially management. No worries if you're not comfortable saying.
Do you mean turnover as in how long people tend to last at the company? It’s AMR so retention is always an issue. We’re currently extremely understaffed on the Medic side due to a lot of people jumping ship with the vaccine mandate as well as fire departments hiring as a lot of people in EMS in California tend to want to go into the fire service. There is an extreme amount of burnout right now which I’m sure is nationwide, but our call volume is pretty crazy.

Our call volume is pretty high especially right now it is a very busy system. I work 7:30-19:30 and got off at midnight one of those days this week.

Not sure which state your coming from, but the biggest issue we have is our bed delays at hospitals with lack of units available. I held the wall for 6 hours with 1 patient this week. We do a street corner post system, but the past few weeks we’ve never even made it to a post and have been getting calls the second we clear from a hospital.

The only bright side I will say is that we aren’t allowed to be given a call past our off time, but I can be given one at 18:59 if my off time is 19:00.

Also schedule wise we do the 3 and 4 day split with 12’s. We currently only have 3 24hr shifts available but those are held by the highest seniority and as of late those 24hrs basically don’t even touch their station or bed.

As far as management I can’t really say because I don’t tend to care and I’ve only been at this division since April of 2021. I treat this job as a stepping stone since I’m about to start nursing school. But I just know a lot of people here really don’t like our management. I personally still love my job and really do enjoy it here I’ve had really good experience as a basic. Imo it’s just private ems and private ems to me is always going to have its problems.
 
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Broomhead

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Do you mean turnover as in how long people tend to last at the company? -snip-
Ah, gotcha. Yeah, that sounds familiar, although we'd sometimes get a safety period if we weren't level 0.

The only bright side I will say is that we aren’t allowed to be given a call past our off time, but I can be given one at 18:59 if my off time is 19:00.
What's policy for those hours after you're off? Can't imagine you're getting shifts off.

Imo it’s just private ems and private ems to me is always going to have its problems.
Hear hear.
 

DesertMedic66

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Emt with AMR in the riverside division. From what I’ve heard management is better with the hemet and Palm Springs division.

I’m also saying this as an emt not a medic so take what I say as a grain of salt since I’m obviously not a medic. But from my understanding but our scope is pretty limited compared to national. But that seems to be California as a whole. BLS in riverside don’t even have Pulse ox’s or glucometers.

No Crics. No RSI. Peds are also not allowed to be intubated in riverside co. As far as I know. As for Narcs we only carry fentanyl, ketamine, and midazolam.
The scope is pretty limited but pulse ox and blood glucose are 100% allowed by the county. They are listed in the BLS scope. AMR elects to not give BLS units SpO2 monitors or glucometers. RSI is only allowed in the HEMS environment with a Universal Flight Paramedic Protocol in the works for the county. Pediatrics can be intubated as long as they are bigger than the broselow tape.
Gotcha, Desert. When I mention hospital, that's just because I know some hospitals out where I'm from hire paramedics on as IV gophers, but figured that was a long shot since they prefer more experienced medics anyways. That signing bonus - ever heard of someone getting hired without it? I figure they need hands, but could see them not wanting someone who'll just be in and out.

Mitchell - the idea of pulse ox & glucometry being ALS blows my mind, but I think I remember that from getting my Basic in cali. Thanks for the information, though, just to set expectations. If you don't mind me asking, what's turnover like? I've heard 2 and I've heard 7 around where I work, partially volume partially management. No worries if you're not comfortable saying.
The signing bonus is completely optional to take. You can sign the contract saying you agree to whatever their current standards are or you can not take it. If you are only planning on staying let’s say 2 years then you might be able to have them change the contract for a 2 year commitment. That is something that will be done with HR and the operations manager.
Ah, gotcha. Yeah, that sounds familiar, although we'd sometimes get a safety period if we weren't level 0.


What's policy for those hours after you're off? Can't imagine you're getting shifts off.


Hear hear.
AMR is not able to force you to work shifts. Once you are clocked out there are no mandatory call backs. They can call and ask if you would like to work and will usually offer some nice incentives. Some of the recent incentives I have received: 12 hours of pay at my double time rate for only a 6 hour shift. 24 hours of my double time pay for a 12 hour shift. Double time and a half for a 12 hour shift. One of the holidays I worked I got double time and a half plus holiday pay for a 12 hour shift.
 

DesertMedic66

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In Riverside county there are 3 total divisions.

You have Riverside division which covers Riverside city and the surrounding areas. They are a union shop and are the biggest division in the county. I have very limited experience with this division but it seems like there has always been a disconnect with management.

Hemet/Pass division is the next biggest. They cover the Hemet/San Jacinto and Banning/Beaumont areas. They are non-union. I have a little more experience with this division and they all seem to like management.

Palm Springs/Desert Cities division is the smallest division in the county. They cover the Coachella Valley and Blythe areas. They are also a non-union shop. The Coachella valley has a lot of different special events that require ALS staffing on site so AMR has a lot of special events in this division. Everything from Coachella Festival with 120,000+ attendees to racetracks.

All 3 divisions are 911/ALS IFT/ BLS IFT. Riverside division does CCT and is either staffed RN/EMTx2 or RT/EMTx2. Riverside and Hemet also have TEMS units, Tactical EMS, who respond to high risk stuff with SWAT units however IMPO it’s pretty useless as they are staged in the cold area and do not really operate any different than a normal unit would.

Riverside County will not allow you to utilize your medic license in the hospital setting in any capacity and will in fact revoke your license should they find out you are working under your license in an ER or non-traditional EMS setting. The county medical director is also a lawyer so he is very strict with a lot of items.
 
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Broomhead

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Desert - Gotcha. When I asked about those hours after clock-out, if a call goes long, I was curious what policy was. If, say, you end up working 10hrs extra over a 4-shift tour, how are those billed?

RivCo not allowing medics in the ER sounds right, but still comes as a shock. In Albuquerque, they've actually got a few on the rapid response teams in-hospital.
 

Mitchellmvhs

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Desert - Gotcha. When I asked about those hours after clock-out, if a call goes long, I was curious what policy was. If, say, you end up working 10hrs extra over a 4-shift tour, how are those billed?

RivCo not allowing medics in the ER sounds right, but still comes as a shock. In Albuquerque, they've actually got a few on the rapid response teams in-hospital.
Pay is different between the divisions. I think Hemet and Palm Springs are the same since they’re non-union again I don’t work there so I don’t know. For Riverside we’re straight pay until 40 hrs and anything after is time-half. We get double time after 12 however in 1 shift.

For the most part any shift pickup is offered for double time as of late. And Medics only have been able to get double time and a half if they committed to 4 extra shifts in a month for each shift
 
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DesertMedic66

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Desert - Gotcha. When I asked about those hours after clock-out, if a call goes long, I was curious what policy was. If, say, you end up working 10hrs extra over a 4-shift tour, how are those billed?

RivCo not allowing medics in the ER sounds right, but still comes as a shock. In Albuquerque, they've actually got a few on the rapid response teams in-hospital.
The pay is different for union vs non-union. For non-union, such as Palm Springs, the pay is 8 hours of normal, from hours 8-12 it’s time and a half. Anything over 12 hours is double time.

So if you get a late call that for some reason takes 4 hours, then you will get 4 hours of double time pay.
 

MEDicJohn

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In my opinion palm springs is the better of the positions. Hemet/pass is busy just sit in Hemet for 15 mins you'll see that huge drug issues. Riverside is meh busy metro work. Palm springs you get some more geriatric calls but genuinely nicer area.
 
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Broomhead

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Thanks, all! I feel much more prepared going into this summer. I'm still interested in any information you have, but I'm outta questions.
 

Mitchellmvhs

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Thanks, all! I feel much more prepared going into this summer. I'm still interested in any information you have, but I'm outta questions.
Overall if you’re a newer medic I think this is a really great county for experience. I used to work in Orange County and have become a far better EMT since I’ve came to riverside since OC is all BLS 911 ambulances and riverside is ALS. I actually got to run my first full arrest with my currently partner. It can burn you out at times, but I’ve learned a lot being out here.

I also wanted to mention that our dispatch for the county is actually all connected. We have the 3 separate divisions, but if an area is super low levels they’ll borrow units from another area. Hemet and Riverside division in the South Zone tend to run a lot of calls in the same area. Last week we actually had to borrow 2 units from Palm Springs as well that I heard over the radio and actually ran into them at Rancho springs in Murrieta which I thought was crazy lol.
 

mrhunt

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OR! Alot of people commute to Liberty Ambulance in ridgecrest. Small desert town In kern county, and about a 2 hour drive outside of Riverside. Alot of medics / emt's commute here. Pay with experience can be pretty great, New equipment, decent / flexible protocols and its the only hospital based EMS system in the county (and likely one of the VERY few in the state come to think of it).

its an excellent company and the only turnover we get is from promotions within. They have a brand new CCT program that is coming along, as well as a new fireline medic program and alot of community out reach type stuff.

Hours are 48 on, 96 off and currently the overtime is basically unlimited (but they'll tend to cap you at 120 hours a week). Posting is all at stations with private rooms and full living quarters that are all recently remodeled. Company does all 911 , and IFT calls in the area and has a Somewhat huge mutual aid zone outside of our area as well which we frequently respond to.
 

DesertMedic66

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OR! Alot of people commute to Liberty Ambulance in ridgecrest. Small desert town In kern county, and about a 2 hour drive outside of Riverside. Alot of medics / emt's commute here. Pay with experience can be pretty great, New equipment, decent / flexible protocols and its the only hospital based EMS system in the county (and likely one of the VERY few in the state come to think of it).

its an excellent company and the only turnover we get is from promotions within. They have a brand new CCT program that is coming along, as well as a new fireline medic program and alot of community out reach type stuff.

Hours are 48 on, 96 off and currently the overtime is basically unlimited (but they'll tend to cap you at 120 hours a week). Posting is all at stations with private rooms and full living quarters that are all recently remodeled. Company does all 911 , and IFT calls in the area and has a Somewhat huge mutual aid zone outside of our area as well which we frequently respond to.
But those transfers into Bakersfield or AV/Palmdale always seem way too long
 

RocketMedic

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Are they still also covering Lake Isabella? I grew up in RC and it’s like the only place in CA I could kinda see working for.
 

mrhunt

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They do still cover lake isabella. And i wont lie, the transfers are soul crushing and crews WISH they just had to go to AV or bakersfield now. but with covid and hospitals overflowing Our transfers often times are more like loma linda or Places that are pushing 8 to 10 hours round trip.


And when your doing calls that long on a daily basis (sometimes multiple ones a day) its soul crushing. But its part of the job. Literally the ONLY bad part of this job that we have so its easy to just swallow the bullet and do it. It's still 100% Worth it even WITH 10 hour long toe pain transfers that are ALS for "pain control" that you take immediately to the receiving hospitals lobby.
 
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Broomhead

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its an excellent company and the only turnover we get is from promotions within. They have a brand new CCT program that is coming along, as well as a new fireline medic program and alot of community out reach type stuff.
Hey, are you guys actively hiring at the moment? Finally getting around to sending applications everywhere, want to be sure it's not a bad time. Would you be open to DMs?
 
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