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Colorado Springs ambulance contract falls through with top bidder

Posted at 4:20 PM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 00:20:28-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The City of Colorado Springs is now negotiating its ambulance contract with a second provider, after talks were mutually ended with its first choice.

After publishing a request for proposals, the city chose Falck as its top provider and began negotiations for a new five-year contract. However, both sides agreed to end those talks without coming to a finalized deal, and now the city will begin negotiating with its second choice: American Medical Response (AMR).

David Patterson, CEO of Falck Rocky Mountain, said Falck offered a pair of proposals that met or exceeded the city's RFP criteria. In an emailed statement, he said the city's demands differed from their initial proposals.

"Falck entered these negotiations in good faith, offering alternatives that would measurably improve service delivery. However, we are not willing to make unsustainable commitments, and we believe the City would agree that it would be irresponsible to do so," Patterson said.

During the negotiation process, Falck took criticism focused on the company's quality of emergency medical services (EMS) in California.

The most recent Alameda County EMS compliance report shows Falck failing to meet performance standards for response times in and around the Oakland area. Falck did not respond fast enough to meet its standard response time, between 10 and 60 minutes depending on the call, 90 percent of the time in four of the company's 10 different deployment sub-zones during August 2019.

City staff are joining the Colorado Springs Fire Department in negotiating the deal. A city spokesperson told News 5 the decision to end the contract "had nothing to do with performance issues in California."

In a statement, the city said it saw Falck as a professional partner and that it regrets not being able to reach a deal. That said, the intent of this process has not changed.

"This RFP process was entered into with a single goal in mind; to improve the EMS transport system in Colorado Springs for the benefit of its residents. This goal has not changed and the City/CSFD team will continue to pursue overall system improvement moving forward," the statement read.

Meanwhile, the city will begin negotiating with AMR as soon as possible.

Scott Lenn, vice president of operations for AMR, said his team is grateful for the chance to secure the contract.

"We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to sitting down to discuss the EMS system in Colorado Springs," Lenn said.

AMR reached a one-year extension on its contract with the city of Colorado Springs in July 2018 to extend service through 2019 after a similar situation unfolded. The city first agreed to negotiate with Tennessee-based Priority Ambulance, but felt the negotiations deviated away from mandated expectations.

On-camera interviews were declined for this story, as the city's procurement rules prohibit comment outside of statements.