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Potential new ambulance contract with city of Colorado Springs called into question

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AMR may soon lose its ambulance service contract with the City of Colorado Springs--to a company just a few years old.

"It was a big surprise.  We've been in the community for almost 40 years and value our relationship with the city," said Scott Lenn, who is the Regional Director for AMR's South Region.

Priority Ambulance started in 2014, but the company says they are now one of the largest in the country--with 2,500 employees and 400 ambulances across nine states.

Colorado Springs officials released a statement to News5, saying Priority Ambulance was the strongest candidate in their competitive bid process.

But for AMR, the future of its 300 city employees uncertain.

"I think we have a lot of concerns for our employees and the community itself, given the history of what we know about the management," said Lenn.

He's referring to Priority Ambulance CEO Brian Gibson and Chief Growth Officer Glenn Leland.

Gibson was the Chief Operating Officer of Rural/Metro Corporation, in 2010--when they signed $375 million ambulance deal with Santa Clara County, in California.

He left the company in at the end of June 2011--and in 2013, it declared bankruptcy.

Around that same time, Gibson took over as CEO of another ambulance company, First Med EMS.

He was there for only 120 days, according to a spokeswoman at Priority Ambulance.

According to NBC News, the company shut down service--without notice--in six states in December of 2013, shortly after Gibson left.

And Glenn Leland served as CEO of a New-York based transport company--Transcare--from early 2015 to 2016. 

The company abruptly shut down in February of 2016, filing for bankruptcy. 

A spokesperson with Priority Ambulance tells News5 that Gibson and Leland were brought into First Med and Transcare--respectively--during 'turnaround situations,' with financial issues far pre-dating their time with the companies."

She went on to say that Priority Ambulance is not a 'turnaround,' and would be well-equipped to serve the city of Colorado Springs"

But AMR is still hoping for a different outcome.

"We're going to fight to maintain this contract.  We're going to make sure our employees are taken care of in the community," said Lenn.

The city declined to comment on camera, but did release this statement:

"In keeping with its commitment to excellence in public service, fire protection and patient care, the City of Colorado Springs, through the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) recently completed a competitive bid process for the City’s ground ambulance service contract. The City believes it has an obligation to the citizens of our community to ensure the best, most economical Emergency Medical Services (EMS) possible. 

Therefore, with the current contract approaching its expiration on December 31, 2018, the City elected to engage the competitive bid process in order to enhance service/delivery to citizens. 

Three companies submitted proposals in the bid process.  The proposals were evaluated by a committee comprised of individuals as stipulated by the City’s procurement procedures.  This committee evaluated each proposal based upon the criteria below:  

1.       Project approach / Compliance with the Statement of Work

2.       Organizational background and overview

3.       Qualifications and Experience / References

4.       Proposal Presentation

5.       Exceptions and Insurance (pass/fail)

Based upon the proposal evaluations, Priority Ambulance emerged as the strongest candidate in the bid process. CSFD will begin contract award negotiations soon with the top scoring candidate.  Residents should be informed that there will be no gap in ambulance service during contract negotiation period.  The City will evaluate many elements of past performance, and seek to improve service delivery to the community.   

During the negotiation period, through the finalization of the contract award, no further information will be released.  At the conclusion of the contract award, CSFD looks forward to working in conjunction with the winning bidder in joint pursuit of continued EMS system improvement."

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