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Home > Topics > EMS Management

Ariz. law hurts ambulance competition

Some officials worry about EMS coverage if a 'too big to fail' private firm fails


PHOENIX — When Rural Metro Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection last year competitors viewed the development as an opportunity to enter the Valley's lucrative ambulance services business.

Very few municipalities own their own ambulances so companies like Rural Metro supply the hardware and oftentimes the personnel to fill the need. But in Arizona, getting into the ambulance services business is more difficult than it may sound.

"It was far more daunting and expensive than I really ever dreamed it would be," said Neal Thomas, who owns a transportation service called Comtrans, which caters to people with special needs. "Almost entirely what happens in an ambulance business, we already do. Your equipment is a little bit more expensive, but we have the experience. We've done it before," said Thomas, who worked in the ambulance services business before.


Full story: Old laws stiffle competition for ambulance service

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Skip Goulet Skip Goulet Friday, May 16, 2014 1:23:14 PM I have a problem with any municipality that tries to regulate ambulance licensing or permitting to the extent that it would exclude someone. Lubbock was very bad about this at one time. When most of Lubbock's funeral homes left the ambulance business in 1966, it forced the fire dept. into an ambulance service it didn't want (and still doesn't). But one funeral home decided to stay with it and by 1967 was the sole ambulance provider. But with only three ambulances to cover a city that was then just under 150,000, that didn't work; so another funeral re-entered the service, but that was only with the calls they received. There was no rotation between them and the other service. So the other funeral homes in conjunction with this one formed a corporation which became known as AID Ambulance. AID opened its doors in August of 1968, and until the remaining funeral home service which had retained the city contract gave it in 1972, AID had to fight not only the competition of the other service, but with the city dispatchers trying to take calls away from them and give them o the other service. Then AID ended up as the sole service, and over the years, none of their competitors succeeded. But by 1975, the Lubbock County Hospital District opened Lubbock County EMS, and AID was out as the emergency provider. Now they are the primary non-emergency service, and they've had little to no competition in that respect. Politics, usual!
Kevin Isaac Names Kevin Isaac Names Friday, May 16, 2014 5:50:49 PM Isnt much different then Oklahoma and our sole-source regulation, fortunately there aren't that many sole-source districts, but between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Which are both EMSA, they determine who exists and doesn't exist.

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