San Diego may be switching ambulance providers

Written by Sebastian Acosta

With San Diego rejecting an appeal by ambulance provider American Medical Response (AMR), Falck USA may soon increase the city’s ambulance service by more than 20 percent. 

Poor service levels and slow response times are the reasons for San Diego’s want of a new ambulance provider. 

Falck’s proposal will be heard on Feb. 10 by the City Council’s public safety committee. Final approval will come weeks later. 

A contract between city officials and Falck was signed in September, but AMR is seeking to block the switch. An AMR spokesman said company officials were “assessing all our options.” 

In the appeal, AMR argued that Falck was too inexperienced and financially insecure to submit a bid. The appeal also said there was a lack of diversity in the city’s selection panel and that there was a conflict of interest with one member. 

Each contention was rejected by Deputy City Attorney Laura DePoister. In her 14-page response, DePoister declared that AMR’s concerns lacked merit, irrelevance, and insubstantiality.  

De Poister wrote, “[the appeals process] is not intended to give losing bidders an opportunity to evaluate the bid or proposal of the winning bidder to have the award overturned and secure the contract for itself.”

AMR has continued to stand by its concerns.

“It is frankly stunning that the city would deny our protest after learning that Flack didn’t even meet the minimum requirements included in the RFP and had to rely on experience in Europe to meet the minimum requirements,” AMR said in a statement. “The fact is, Falck lacks experience and expertise necessary to keep our residents safe.”

If Falck is approved, it would begin service within a six month period.

“With the appeal process closed, Falck looks forward to obtaining City Council approval,” said Troy Hagen, Falck USA’s chief commercial officer. “Falck looks forward to providing an improved level of emergency ambulance service for all San Diegans starting later this year.”