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The city of Spokane, now in the middle of a legal battle over excessive ambulance rates, will have to decide in the next few weeks whether to cancel its current contract with American Medical Response. Mayor Dennis Hession and likely the City Council must decide if the city should join the cities of Spokane Valley, Airway Heights, Cheney, Medical Lake and seven outlying fire districts in seeking a new master contract governing rates and response times for the majority of Spokane County.
An ambulance ride in Spokane County could get cheaper in the next year. Fire departments that cover most of Spokane County have been working together in recent months to create an agreement that would allow for a single ambulance contract to cover several fire districts.
City of Spokane residents who have used American Medical Response ambulances since 1998 have the right to pursue "exemplary damages" under the state's Consumer Protection Act, a judge ruled Friday. Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque denied two motions brought by AMR attorney Paul J. Dayton, of Seattle, that would have essentially killed the lawsuit filed late last year.
Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession proposed Monday fining American Medical Response $80,172 for overbilling patients, just hours after the firefighters union said such a "five-figure fine" would be insignificant. "The fine represents 25 percent of the total overcharge of customers," Hession said in a statement late Monday.
As many as 30,000 residents of the city of Spokane who have used the emergency ambulance services of American Medical Response since October 1998 now could be part of a just-expanded class-certified lawsuit. The suit, filed last December by three Spokane residents, alleges AMR has overcharged patients and violated the state's Consumer Protection Act over the past eight years.
A Superior Court judge has denied a Spokane ambulance company's request to set aside a lawsuit against it that claims the company overbilled customers. American Medical Response Northwest Inc., which holds the exclusive contract to provide emergency medical service in Spokane, had sought arbitration rather than allowing a jury to decide whether it violated the state's Consumer Protection Act.
A Superior Court judge is considering whether to send a lawsuit about ambulance overbilling in Spokane to arbitration instead of letting a jury decide if American Medical Response violated the state's Consumer Protection Act. The ambulance company, which holds the exclusive contract to provide emergency medical service within the city of Spokane, filed a motion asking Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque to send the suit to arbitration before a private judge.
A Superior Court judge refused on Friday to dismiss the Spokane operations manager for a large ambulance company as a defendant in a consumer protection act lawsuit that alleges a pattern of overbilling patients. Attorneys for American Medical Response (AMR) sought to have Jerry Lueck, the director of the ambulance company's operations in Spokane, dismissed from the suit filed in December by Lori E. Davis-Bacon and Lorraine and Doug Bacon, all of Spokane.
The union representing Spokane firefighters issued a statement Tuesday calling for an external investigation into the relationship between American Medical Response and the Spokane Fire Department administration. The demand from Firefighters Local 29 came one week after AMR, which has the exclusive contract to provide ambulance services in the city of Spokane, admitted it overbilled city residents $320,689 in the past two years and promised immediate refunds. Other AMR patients living outside the city are not governed by the contract and won't receive refunds.
With questions arising over American Medical Response's service in Spokane, residents of Spokane Valley are perhaps wondering how the contract in their fire district differs from that of the city. Spokane County Fire District No. 1's Emergency Medical Service Division Chief Randy Olson, Assistant Chief Larry Rider and Fire Chief Mike Thompson answered a few of the questions residents might be pondering.
The ambulance company holding an exclusive contract with the city of Spokane admits in newly filed court papers that it overcharged two patients who filed a lawsuit against it last month. But Seattle attorneys for American Medical Response (AMR) said the two plaintiffs aren't representative of the patients it serves, and the lawsuit should therefore not be certified as a class action.
In an emergency, how long does it take for a private ambulance to arrive in Spokane? It took more than 10 minutes in 11 percent of the calls during a three-month period this fall, a City Council panel was told Friday.