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City to propose own ambulance service enterprise in private meeting with local business leaders

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The City of Colorado Springs is considering providing its own ambulance services to residents, as its contract with the current provider, American Medical Response, ends in April 2025.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department confirmed to KRDO13 that it is “exploring the opportunity to provide ambulance transport services for the City of Colorado Springs.” The proposed plan is being presented next week by Mayor Yemi Mobolade and Colorado Springs Fire Chief Randy Royal during a closed-door meeting.

KRDO13 Investigates called El Pomar Foundation, which is hosting the private event. Jane Mead, the special events manager, said the event is “invite only." When KRDO13 Investigates asked who is invited, Mead said "presidents and CEOs of local companies." It’s unclear how much the Colorado Springs City Council knows about the proposed plan and meeting. KRDO13 Investigates contacted multiple city council members but didn’t receive a response.

Both the Mayor’s Office and the Colorado Springs Fire Department declined an interview about why it’s considering ending a more than 40-year partnership with AMR. However, Royal provided a statement about what the proposed change could mean for Colorado Springs residents.

“In anticipation of our contract with American Medical Response (AMR) ending in April 2025, the Colorado Springs Fire Department is exploring the opportunity to provide ambulance transport services for the City of Colorado Springs. Part of this exploration is conducting due diligence to ensure that this would reduce costs to residents, provide improved services and deliver innovative and state-of-the-art care. This may include bringing an ordinance for consideration to City Council in the coming weeks or months to establish a City enterprise.”

- Randy Royal, Colorado Springs Fire Chief

This comes after multiple reports by KRDO13 Investigates detailing AMR’s struggles to meet its contractual requirements.

According to the contract between AMR and the city, the ambulance provider must arrive within a certain time frame depending on what zone the call is from and the call’s priority. For life-threatening calls, or Code 3, ambulances must arrive within eight minutes in the urban zone, 12 minutes in the suburban zone, and 16 minutes in the rural zone.

The contract states AMR must arrive within those time frames 90% of the time. KRDO13 Investigates obtained data that shows AMR arrived late to Code 3 calls throughout 2022. Because of those late arrivals, AMR had to pay more than $3.4 million in damages in 2022.

Due to these contractual violations, the city could have ended its contract with AMR in 2023, but it didn’t. Now a year later, it’s exploring other options.

AMR also declined an interview but, in a statement, said it was aware the city was exploring other options.

“AMR’s contract with the City of Colorado Springs is set to expire in April 2025. We understand City officials are evaluating options for how emergency medical service will be provided moving forward. A review like this is standard operating procedure for most public/private contracts.

We have communicated to City officials our willingness to extend the current contract for a year while they conduct their evaluation. AMR and our predecessor company have been entrusted to provide service to the citizens of Colorado Springs for over 40 years, and our intention is to continue the tradition of caring for many years to come.”

- AMR spokesperson
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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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