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Scottsdale City Council moves forward with Maricopa Ambulance renewal at local Fire Department

photo of Scottsdale City Council
A snapshot of regular business unfolding during a typical Scottsdale City Council meeting held at in the Kiva Auditorium. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
Numbers show Scottsdale Fire expects about 18,000 calls for ambulance service
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Scottsdale City Council is moving forward with a three-year extension for ambulatory services provided by Maricopa Ambulance across the municipality at the local fire department.

Following brief discussion, Scottsdale City Council unanimously approved the contract renewal emboldened in Resolution No. 12941 at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Tuesday, Oct. 24.

The formal approval is the second extension, which first began through a request for proposal process in 2017.

“A critical component of the delivery of EMS is emergency transportation. By securing a long-term, performance-based ambulance contract, the city has entered into an agreement that established minimum performance standards, provides continuity of care throughout the community and supports the Fire Department’s delivery of advanced life support (paramedic) services,” said Scottsdale Fire Chief Tom Shannon in his Oct. 24 report to City Council.

“The initial contract was a result of a Request for Proposal process that was initiated in July of 2017.”

During the public hearing, Fire Chief Shannon explained, the original contract, which was won by Maricopa Ambulance, and subsequent approvals are based on compliance of critical tenets.

“The item before you is largely procedural,” he told City Council during the Oct. 24 public hearing. “It is an extension of our existing contract with Maricopa Ambulance who has served the city in partnership for the better part of seven years, I believe now.”

Chief Shannon explains Maricopa Ambulance serves the residents of Scottsdale well.

“They are compliant in all areas of the contract. In areas where we have had some deficiencies, they’re always accountable to those deficiencies within the contract, specifically to fees related to delayed response,” he said pointing out the Scottsdale Fire Department still has plans to take on the responsibility of medical transportation duties.

“Maricopa Ambulance has been in the Arizona ambulance transportation business for decades. Some of you may recall we had interest in applying for a certificate of necessity to have ambulance, transportation services some years ago, but we opted to contract with Maricopa Ambulance. We’ve had a very effective and collaborative relationship that was based on the understanding we would someday assume transportation responsibilities, but to the mayor’s point, the surge in service with COVID is a challenge for everyone in pre-hospital staffing.”

Scottsdale Councilman Barry Graham brought forward questions of efficacy to which Chief Shannon confirmed Maricopa Ambulance has met all criteria allowing for a contract renewal.

“So, we are looking at the same level of service, the same vendor contractor relationship with the city of Scottsdale,” Mayor Ortega said following the public discussion. “Looking at the performance it has always met requirements.”

A view of Scottsdale Fire Departments HQ found along Indian School Road. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
A brief look at the numbers

According to tenets of the contract provided HERE, Maricopa Ambulance is required to maintain at least an eight minute and 59 second (8:59) response time to priority 1 calls, 90% percent of the time.

Coupled with funding reserves of $50,000 and a performance surety bond of $1 million, the basic life and advanced rate support equates to about $126.39 per patient delivered to a hospital.

“Staff anticipates approximately 18,000 compensable transports per year,” Chief Shannon said in his report. “Staff anticipates approximately $1,800,000 in revenue from the Advanced Life Support transport fees, approximately $50,000 for upgraded EMS training and equipment, and $400,000 for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, which are covered by Maricopa within the costs of the contract.”

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