EMS bids 300% higher than first contract in 2011
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Coweta’s emergency medical services contract ends July 30, and the bids for the next two years are 300 percent higher than they were in 2011.
On Tuesday, the Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted to reject the two bids and negotiate with the bidders, American Medical Response and Vital Care. The commissioners also asked staff to explore moving EMS services in-house.
Vital Care submitted a bid of $989,000, and AMR, which is the county’s current provider, submitted a bid for $990,000.
Vital Care was the county’s EMS provider for many years, until 2011. AMR submitted a bid that was $140,000 less than Vital Care’s and won the contract. AMR bid $295,000 and Vital Care bid $435,000, but later reduced that bid by $100,000.
The bid is for the “supplement” that the county pays an EMS provider. The companies also bill patients for services.
Five companies responded to the original bid request, but only two submitted compliant bids, said Michael Fouts, county administrator.
Fouts said it was staff’s recommendation to negotiate with the two companies to “determine cost-effective measures to reduce the annual subsidy.”
After the meeting, Fouts was asked why the new bids were so much higher. He said he asks the same question.
Commissioner Rodney Brooks said he would also like staff to look at the possibility of keeping the EMS service in-house, possibly through the Coweta County Fire Department.
Fire Chief Johnny Teeters was in attendance and was asked his thoughts.
“We’ve got a good system in place,” Teeters said. “I think the concern is the dollars involved.” The county already provides a lot of resources for the EMS provider: ambulances, fuel and equipment.
“I’m sure Michael Fouts and his staff will give direction on what we need to do.”
During the public comment section of the meeting, resident Simon Rutman spoke in favor of bringing EMS services in-house. He has previously spoken to the commissioners about the issue. In many cities, the EMS services are part of the fire department, Rutman said. “A lot of this money could be kept here and it could create more jobs for the fire department,” he said. Rutman suggested a committee be formed to look into the issue.