AMR hires 100 EMS workers in Va.
The company is working to fill the void left by the sudden shutdown of First Med in December
By Tara Bozick
NEWPORT, Va. — National medical transportation provider American Medical Response is adding more than 100 employees in Hampton Roads as it fills the void left by the shutdown of First Med EMS in December.
"A lot of people needed service," said Kevin Gross, the new Hampton Roads operations manager for AMR. "It's a prime market to be in."
When American Medical Response heard about the layoffs of about 250 ambulance transport workers in the region, the company moved quickly to host a job fair in December, Gross said. AMR had also advertised job openings earlier this year.
About 500 people applied for positions including wheelchair drivers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, he said. The company, with 50 full- and part-time employees now, is putting another 53 new hires through orientation this week. American Medical Response is leasing the former First Med space at 5000 Incubator Road in Hampton for its main office, where it's investing $500,000. By mid-June, the company anticipates having 14 ambulances for peak deployment.
The company, a subsidiary of Colorado-based Envision Healthcare Holdings, started transporting patients on the Peninsula on April 23, Gross said.
Riverside Health System has contracted AMR to transport patients between its facilities, including basic transport to appointments and with advanced life support in emergency situations. AMR isn't dispatched directly by 911 call centers, but rather Riverside's own patient transfer center, where the ambulance provider has integrated its staff.
Dr. James McCorry, emergency department medical director at Riverside Doctors' Hospital in Williamsburg and now the regional operational medical director for AMR, said the national company, which operates in 40 states and in Washington D.C., has plenty of experience in critical care transport and resources for in-house education and training. He noted AMR can also track its vehicles for redeployment.
"I would say it's going to fill the void," McCorry said, as First Med had provided Riverside transportation services from 2009 until December, when the company filed for bankruptcy and laid off roughly 2,000 employees in six states.
Riverside uses its own transport at Doctors’ Hospital, Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester and Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News. AMR would be a supplement to that service, he said.
AMR will likely need to hire another 30 full- and part-time workers with plans to focus on serving Riverside before providing service to other health-care providers, Gross said. The company plans to open stations in Gloucester, Tappahannock and in Nassawadox on the Eastern Shore and will explore opening an office in South Hampton Roads as it grows.
The recent hires include a handful of former employees from First Med, including some placed in management roles. John Rosenbaum, who was an operations director for First Med in its Portsmouth office, was hired in March as AMR's regional operations supervisor. AMR employs more than 18,000 nationwide.
"For the size we are currently, we have been extremely busy," Rosenbaum said.
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