Suit by ambulance firm over contract tossed - East Valley Tribune: News

Suit by ambulance firm over contract tossed

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Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:45 am | Updated: 3:48 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by an ambulance company that challenged a contract that went to a rival company to serve Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek and Apache Junction.

The contract for regional ambulance service across the four communities was awarded to Southwest Ambulance in September, but has not gone into effect yet.

Southwest says the judge dismissed the suit by its rival, Professional Medical Transport Inc., on Tuesday.

PMT alleged that the bidding process favored Southwest by preventing it from submitting a bid.

The lawsuit hasn’t slowed efforts to start the regional service, Mesa City Manager Chris Brady said.

“We’ve already been moving ahead,” Brady said. “We weren’t ever told we had to stop.”

Southwest is working with regulators at the Arizona Department of Health Services to receive approval to begin the service, Brady said.

The cities have sought a regional contract because each community has a separate contract with Southwest now, and those agreements prevent ambulances from crossing city limits the way firefighters often do in life-threatening situations.

With a single contract, the public should see faster response times because the closest ambulance can respond, Brady said.

The change will be most noticeable in outlying areas like east Mesa, where response times are usually longer, he said.

“At the end of the day, if you’re in need of medical assistance, the service should be improved from what it’s been in the past,” Brady said.

The contract has no impact on the municipalities, as patients are billed by the ambulance provider.

PMT and Southwest have been battling for control of this and other multimillion-dollar contracts across much of the Valley. In recent yeas, PMT has won contracts in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Guadalupe and Tempe.

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