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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mexico’s pirate ambulances profiteering in the pandemic

Many people have been profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico; prices for oxygen cylinders, medicinal alcohol and face masks all have skyrocketed. But perhaps the cruelest are the so-called pirate ambulances that take advantage of patients' desperation.

Shawn Vestal: Lopez-AMR contract kerfuffle raises questions

Before the courts slapped down the mayor’s attempt to expand political appointments in the city’s hiring, one handpicked hire snuck through the gate. That appointment – the hiring of Mike Lopez as head of EMS services – illustrates the problems built into the entire approach. Lopez was hired without a competitive process. He was hired before his position had even formally been created. His hiring was justified by a bureaucratic rigmarole – title-shuffling and department-creating – and placed in a Catch-22 type of category, which Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer described in an internal email as a “civilian EMS Chief that isn’t a chief.”

Spokane ambulance contract to be rebid

Spokane Mayor David Condon said he would ask for another round of bids for the city’s ambulance contract in response to concerns from City Council President Ben Stuckart. The request for bids will remain unchanged except for the removal of one line that said an ambulance company had to be the primary operator in at least one city with a population of at least 150,000 within the United States.

City’s search for ambulance provider produces sole bid

Spokane leaders may rebid an ambulance contract after no competition emerged to challenge the firm that already provides the city’s emergency transportation. Only American Medical Response bid on the five-year contract for ambulance service in Spokane.

Spokane Fire manager Mike Lopez once led local AMR

Spokane’s new integrated medical services manager was in charge of the local American Medical Response operation during at least some of the years that the ambulance company systematically overbilled city residents, documents show. But city officials say the problems began after billing duties were moved out of the Spokane office to AMR’s regional headquarters in Seattle between late 2002 and early 2003 as part of a corporate restructuring. The company agreed to a nearly $1 million settlement in 2010 over years of lucrative billing flaws involving Spokane residents.

Hire for Spokane Fire Department faces challenge

Spokane Mayor David Condon is putting a new political appointee on the fire department’s payroll despite last month’s legal ruling that limited his ability to bypass the city’s traditional civil service rules. Mike Lopez, a widely recognized emergency medical expert who has held key roles in developing statewide EMS policies, is scheduled to start Monday as the fire department’s new assistant director of integrated medical services. The mayor’s office contends it should be considered a “grandfathered” appointment since the offer was finalized four days before the April 25 Spokane County Superior Court ruling that partially scrapped Condon’s reorganization.

New ambulance contract cuts rate $100

Going to the hospital in an ambulance is going to get a little cheaper for many Spokane County residents next month. The Ambulance Service Board that includes almost all Spokane County fire departments and districts just negotiated a three-year contract extension with American Medical Response that includes a $100 drop in price effective in February.

New ambulance contract cuts rate $100

Going to the hospital in an ambulance is going to get a little cheaper for many Spokane County residents next month. The Ambulance Service Board that includes almost all Spokane County fire departments and districts just negotiated a three-year contract extension with American Medical Response that includes a $100 drop in price effective in February.

Life Flight expands service

Competition among medical helicopter companies continues to sharpen across the Inland Northwest as Life Flight Network opens its second northern Idaho base in two years – a region that for two decades has been served by Spokane-based Northwest MedStar. The expansion by Life Flight into Sandpoint is a multimillion-dollar venture for the Oregon air-ambulance service. It will station one helicopter and one airplane in Sandpoint and employ 14 people, including nurses, paramedics, pilots and mechanics.

Report: Reform emergency response

BOISE – Idaho’s emergency medical services are a disjointed patchwork of cities, counties, ambulance districts, fire departments, private firms and others, which has led to duplication, gaps in service and possible risks to patients, according to a state report issued Tuesday. The problems have been debated for years, but the various entities involved never could come to agreement on changes. Now the state Legislature is preparing to step in.

Shared Spokane County ambulance system on hold

Hopes for creating one ambulance system throughout most of Spokane County are fading after city and Spokane Valley fire leaders opted against the concept. Fire officials created the Ambulance Service Board to consider building an ambulance system that would have the same rates and similar response-time requirements throughout the county.

Smoother ride for patients

Northwest MedStar showed off two new ambulances Tuesday, including one specially designed to carry children and women with high-risk pregnancies. The vehicles – which will replace ambulances MedStar had been leasing from ambulance service provider AMR – complement Medstar’s airplane and helicopter transport services.