City looking to hire new ambulance service

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas city leaders are considering parting ways with the ambulance service they've used for more than a decade  because of concerns whether American Medical Response can handle the city's future medical needs.

This comes after a record number of disputes between AMR and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue.

For the past 15 years, AMR ambulances have been the main provider handling Las Vegas' ambulance needs, but that changed this year when Las Vegas Fire & Rescue decided it wanted to handle the majority of emergency calls. It was a move that put more money in the city's pocket, but it set off a series of disputes between the ambulance company and the fire department.

AMR's contract is nearly up and Las Vegas is open to finding a new provider. Fire chief William McDonald says the Request for Proposal (RFP) process has nothing to do with the problems or conflicts the city has had with AMR.

"It really has to do with how the healthcare system has changed over time, how pre-hospital needs have changed," McDonald said.

He wants more than a "one-size-fits-all" approach to emergency care.

"We treat them, put in our ambulance and take them to the emergency room. They don't necessarily need that in some cases," McDonald said.

The city is searching for an ambulance company that will also direct patients to preventative care facilities instead of just emergency rooms.

AMR wouldn't go on camera but told 8 News NOW that they are bidding aggressively for this new contract. They say they're currently in negotiations the fire chief and feel the discussion is going well.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman says the city of Las Vegas needs to be open to working with new companies.

"You can't put your head in the sand. This is about continuing to stay up with the times. Technology has made a huge change in response and different kinds of equipment that's available," Goodman said.

She says the ambulance bidding process will show taxpayers their money is being used wisely.

AMR's contract ends Nov. 2015, but Mayor Goodman told 8 News NOW, AMR could win the contract. There is no word yet on what other ambulance companies are expecting to submit bids to the city.

 


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