May 14, 2009 in Washington Voices

Ambulance company drops out of bid process

By The Spokesman-Review

Three ambulance companies have expressed interest in bidding for a contract with most of the fire departments in Spokane County, but one has dropped out.

Spokane Valley Fire Department Chief Mike Thompson said Paramedics Plus of Tyler, Texas, said in a letter May 4 that company officials didn’t think they would have enough time to prepare a bid.

Thompson said the consortium of fire departments that solicited the bids March 27 has already granted a three-week extension, to June 17, for bids to be submitted, but “apparently that wasn’t quite long enough for Paramedics Plus.” The bidding will now proceed as scheduled, he said.

Other companies that have expressed interest in the contract are Rural Metro of Scottsdale, Ariz., and American Medical Response, which already provides most ambulance service in Spokane County.

Only the Spokane Fire Department has a comprehensive contract with AMR. Consortium members hope a broader contract will drive down prices for patients while establishing performance standards based on population densities.

The consortium includes the Spokane Valley Fire Department – which serves Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood – and eight other independent fire districts, plus the Spokane, Airway Heights, Cheney and Medical Lake municipal fire departments. Fire Districts 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13 are part of the group.

Deer Park and Fire Districts 2 and 12, which are served by volunteer ambulance groups, are not in the consortium.

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