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Colorado Springs making 2nd attempt at choosing new ambulance service

Colorado Springs officials and Falck Rocky Mountain are providing few specifics about why they failed to agree on a contract for emergency medical services after 10 days of negotiations ended Friday.

On Monday, both sides said they won’t have further comment until talks for an EMS provider are completed.

“All the requests for proposals [remain] confidential so as to not negatively impact negotiations with any company,” said city spokeswoman Jamie Fabos. “[We] regret that negotiations were not successful [and] will begin negotiating a contract as soon as possible.”

The city will next negotiate with American Medical Response (AMR), the previous provider, which came in second behind Falck in this year’s request for proposal process.

During negotiations with the city, Falck spokesman David Patterson said the company offered two proposals that “met or exceeded” RFP requirements.

“The city indicated it wanted a contract that was considerably different,” he wrote in a statement. “One that would require Falck to make service delivery commitments that we believe are significantly at risk of not being sustainable. We are not willing to make unsustainable commitments, and we believe the city would agree that it would be irresponsible to do so.”

Whether the commitments refer to response times, or other criteria, is unclear.

Patterson said it’s the first time he has experienced this situation.

But City Council President Richard Skorman isn’t worried.

“It’s just part of the process,” he said. “These things have to be negotiated. It’s very specific about how you do it. The point is we have to choose a provider that will meet service time requirements and save lives. We’re hoping AMR will work with us, but if that doesn’t happen we’ll keep looking.”

Falck is based in California and provides EMS services in seven other states and in Aurora, Colorado. Last month, the company had to pay a fine of $372,000 to Alameda County, California, for failing to meet response times in June and July.

But AMR, a nationally known EMS provider, has had its own share of trouble meeting response times. The company is believed to have paid Colorado Springs a fine of $300,000 last year, but said it has addressed “technical” issues which slowed response times.

This is the second straight year that the city has failed to agree on a contract with a provider’s top bid. Last year, the city ended talks with Tennessee-based Priority Ambulance and ended up agreeing to a one-year contract with AMR, which again finished second in the RFP process.

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