Local agency isn't happy about ambulance service contract - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Local agency isn't happy about ambulance service contract

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(10/15/13) - It's a critical service that just about everyone in Saginaw County depends on.

Saginaw leaders had to decide if more is better when it comes to the number of ambulance companies that respond when you call 911.

For about four years, only one ambulance company has had the contract with Saginaw County.

Another company asked to get in on the action, but commissioners say when it comes to response times, they want to stick with what they know.

"The message that the board sent to the residents of Saginaw is that Saginaw is a closed shop as it comes to EMS services," said Derk Wilcynskim with Stat EMS.

Stat EMS representatives attempted to ask Saginaw County board of commissioners to give their business a chance to bid on the contract that would give more than one company a chance to offer ambulance services.

"We're disappointed that the board didn't open up the selection of an EMS provider to an open bid process. We think that would have been the way to consider that more companies were considered, more pricing was considered, the quality of EMS services were considered," Wilcynski said.

In order for STAT to come to the area, they would have to get permission from the Saginaw Medical Control Authority. They haven't been able to do that.

"We had many companies here five years ago, that's why we did this agreement. First responders came to us at the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners and asked us for this agreement and said when people call for an ambulance and two or three ambulances show up and two or three ambulances send you a bill, they wanted to have this exclusive agreement," said Cheryl Hadsall, a commissioner with Saginaw County.

"We believe and most EMS people today, competition is not necessarily good," said Mark Thompson, the president and CEO with MMR.

Thompson says one reason the company is in Genesee County is because of issue that it had in the past.

At that time, I think like a dozen EMS agencies, now there may be about eight, but there was a report out in 2005 saying it was taking five to seven calls to get an ambulance to respond, you call in Saginaw County, you get an ambulance every time you call," he said.

Saginaw County commissioners also say that MMR has worked well for them and the company reports to them on a quarterly basis.

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