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Colo. officials to vote on replacing AMR with FD EMS

Officials in Colorado Springs will hold the first vote on the potential change in EMS

By O’Dell Isaac
The Gazette

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Springs City Council is scheduled on Tuesday to hold its first vote on a potential change in the city’s emergency medical services.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department wants to end the city’s existing contract with American Medical Response and run ambulances themselves. Colorado Springs is currently one of the few U.S. metropolitan areas that contracts with a private company for ambulance services.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department plan would end the 40-year partnership between the city and AMR

Colorado Springs City Council split on proposed EMS enterprise

The Colorado Springs City Council appeared split on Monday about whether to bring ambulance services in-house.

The AMR contract is set to expire in a year, and many in the city believe CSFD’s EMS crews are better trained and equipped to handle emergency medical response for the city.

CSFD says putting would-be profits into services would save more lives, lower ambulance bills, improve patient experiences and pay employees better.

But American Medical Response has argued the Fire Department is over-projecting revenue and says it won’t provide enough ambulances to get to emergencies as fast as does AMR.

Tuesday’s vote is the first by City Council, with the final vote expected June 25.

AMR vs. Colorado Springs Fire Department: How competing ambulance services stack up

The Colorado Springs Fire Department wants to end its contract with American Medical Response and run ambulances themselves, much the way a majority of suburban cities in the Denver metro area do. The City Council begins weighing on Monday whether to go with the Colorado Springs Fire Department plan or renew the contract with American Medical Response.

City officials, including CSFD Fire Chief Randy Royal and Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade, pitched the change to the City Council last month, saying it would reduce response times and medical costs for residents.

Councilmembers have been split on the issue, with some saying the move could improve public safety and others questioning whether the proposed enterprise would be financially viable.

The Fire Department said AMR has not been meeting the expectations for response times laid out in its contract with the city. In the past three years, AMR responded late to more than 33,000 calls and paid the city more than $5 million in damages, largely for delayed response times.

Manitou Springs, the Falcon Fire Protection District and South Metro Fire Rescue which serves parts of Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson counties near Denver have all ended contracts with private ambulance providers to bring services in-house.

As population rises and costs increase, the Peyton Fire Protection District is embarking on a plan to expand the nearly volunteer force serving a section of unincorporated northeastern El Paso County.

Peyton Fire Protection District officials are looking at in-house solutions to AMR’s response time, staffing problems

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