Ambulance provider to get a new deal

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

 

Emergency Medical Services District 2 residents shouldn't notice any differences despite administrative changes made this year.

Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes and Fire Chief Joe Molina said Friday that the city, which now administers the ambulance contract, has elected to continue its relationship with current provider American Medical Response.

After negotiations are complete, the contract will go to the Vancouver City Council for approval this fall, Holmes said.

EMS District 2 includes most of the county, except Camas and Washougal and communities served by North Country EMS. County commissioners are the governing board.

However, Vancouver's population generates 74 percent of ambulance calls within the district, and county commissioners agreed in March to let the city manage the contract for the Vancouver Fire Department's service area, which includes people in city limits plus Clark County Fire District 5.

The new contract will take effect in January, allowing AMR to continue serving the rest of EMS District 2 — the cities of Ridgefield, Battle Ground, La Center and Woodland, and unincorporated areas — through a new interlocal agreement.

Falck, one of the nation's largest private providers of ambulance services, also applied for the contract, but AMR scored considerably higher in a competitive process, Holmes said.

All revenues are user-generated.

Molina said AMR estimated that in 2015 it will bill $37 million for services and collect $14 million, with the difference attributed to the number of uninsured and underinsured patients and low reimbursement rates. The company has a profit margin of 3 to 4 percent, Molina said.

"Since AMR is the current ambulance service provider, our residents should expect to see no interruption or change in the quality ambulance services they've been receiving," Molina said.