Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ambulance Legislation Reviewed

As the session continues, it appears that the ambulance service bill is clearly getting the post attention. It could be that practically every lobbyist on the hill has been hired on this bill, or it could just be a sincere interest in making sure we get quality ambulance service -- you decide :)

In light of the scrutiny that this bill is receiving, I thought it would be well to outline the most recent concepts surround the legislation, so here they are.

  1. The current legislation is limited to first and second class counties, and allow private ambulance providers to compete against each other at the hospital/patient level to provide ambulance service on non-911 calls (inter-facility calls).

  2. A proposed substitute has been circulated by Southwest Ambulance to allow cities/towns to determine if they would like to RFP ambulance service, and if so they can maintain geographic exclusive contracts so that only one provider is able to provide service within the given city. If a city decides to opt for the RFP, such a designation must take place prior to January 2010. If no RFP model is designated, then the area is open to competition at the hospital/patient level and no geographic exclusivity is provided. Under this model cities can respond to their own RFP

  3. Gold Cross has also proposed substitute language that would mandate an RFP model that would be administered by the Department of Health. Cities and private providers can respond to the RFP and geographic exclusivity is granted to the winning bidder. Once a contract is obtained, that contract is good for a period of 4 years and can only be challenged after the 4 year period expires. This model would be made available on a statewide basis

  4. Based on feedback from ULCT Policy committee, we have been arguing that we are okay with an RFP model so long as cities can respond to the RFP and cities either control the RFP process, or the cities recommendation to the Department of Health is given deference unless the Department can demonstrate that the recommended provider is unable to provide the necessary services.

At this point it is unclear which model will be pursued, but all ideas are on the table for consideration. We will be following this closely and will be sure to provide future updates.