Enloe, First Responder join forces in bid to keep medical transport services local in Calif. county
Sierra-Sacramento Valley EMS, which administers ambulance contracts throughout the north state, announced it would seek a single provider for two exclusive operating areas in Butte County
By GREG WELTER - Staff Writer
Chico Enterprise-Record (California)
BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. — Faced with the possibility of outside ambulance companies going after the emergency medical transport contract in Butte County, Enloe Ambulance and First Responder EMS, Inc. have announced a partnership.
"The next contract will be awarded to one company for the whole county," said Marty Marshall, director of emergency services for Enloe Medical Center.
"That's a big deal," Marshall said, noting Enloe and First Responder have been sharing the emergency medical transport business in Butte County on a rotating basis for several years.
The partnership between the two companies will be known as Butte County EMS, LLC, Marshall said. A press release issued Monday refers to the coalition as a joint venture.
About a year ago, Sierra-Sacramento Valley EMS, which administers ambulance contracts throughout the north state, announced it would seek a single provider for two exclusive operating areas in Butte County. One includes an area around Gridley and Biggs, and comes with a $60,000 subsidy for the provider selected to serve it. The other area is the remainder of Butte County.
Marshall said Enloe and First Responder have been in talks for several months, in anticipation of a request for proposals that SSV EMS made available to all interested parties on Friday.
"We have been working together for so long that joining forces to maximize the strengths of each organization is a natural and comfortable next step," Marshall said.
On Tuesday Vickie Pinette, Regional Executive Director for SSV EMS, said she wouldn't be surprised if several companies from out of the area submitted a proposal for Butte County.
In a recent contract review for Napa County, Pinette said companies as distant as Southern California made a try for the business.
Although she hasn't heard from any of them yet, Pinette said it's possible that regional companies including Priority One, American Medical Response, Paramedics Plus and Rural Metro EMS, could be interested in Butte County.
In 2007, Ontario-based Priority One attempted to begin operations in the Chico area. It wasn't successful, but the attempt raised questions about ambulance service in the area that led SSV EMS to decide to award a single provider, which Marshall said is actually a more customary business model in the industry.
Marshall said he's confident the joint-venture company will put together an attractive proposal for the emergency transport contract.
He said Enloe has already addressed minor concerns SSV EMS had about service in Butte County. He said the new company will be competitive in pricing its services, and expects it to earn high points in that area with the contract administrator.
He said Butte County has always enjoyed above average emergency medical services, and great cooperation between all of its public safety agencies.
"Butte County EMS may be a new name," explained Byron Parsons, CEO of First Responder, "but the two organizations in our partnership have a long history of providing superior, quality emergency medical services to the residents and visitors in our county."
Enloe Ambulance has been in business since 1978. First Responder was started in 1988. Both have provided advanced pre-hospital care and transportation under the oversight and direction of the local EMS agency.
They are part of the EMS chain of life in Butte County, composed of a well-defined network of agencies, including hospitals, law enforcement, fire departments, air ambulances and emergency departments, among others, according to a press release.
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