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Gazette file photo.

Colorado Springs officials said Friday that the city has dropped negotiations with the lead bidder to replace a 40-year partnership with the current ambulance provider, American Medical Response.

And city negotiators have turned to a familiar face for ambulances in town next year: AMR.

Falck Rocky Mountain, the top contender to end the long-standing relationship between Colorado Springs and AMR, “mutually agreed to end negotiations without a finalized contract,” said a city news release.

“(Colorado Springs Fire Department) and the City found Falck to be a professional and well-managed company and regret that negotiations were not successful,” read the release. “Falck entered into the (bid) and negotiated in good faith, and the City thanks Falck for the time and effort in this process.”

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Falck cited “unsustainable commitments” in a news release Friday, saying that the city and ambulance provider agreed it would be “irresponsible” to take them on.

“During final negotiations, the city indicated it wanted a contract with Falck that was considerably different than either of our proposals; one that would require Falck to make service delivery commitments that we believe are significantly at risk of not being sustainable,” the release said.

Compliance reports showed after taking over an ambulance contract this year, Falck initially did not meet the 90% compliance standards in all three of its zones in Alameda County in California, which include Oakland and its suburbs.

Falck’s contract with Alameda County requires it to respond to most urgent medical calls requiring lights and siren within 10 to 14 minutes in metro areas, depending on the call priority, the county reported. But the county fined Falck $372,500 for slow responses in July and August.

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In Aurora, compliance reports from May show Falck met its expected response times for urban emergency calls about 94% of the time, exceeding the required rate. In April, those times were met nearly 95% of the time.

Jamie Fabos with the Colorado Springs’ mayor’s office said the city could not comment on whether the dropped Falck negotiation was tied to poor compliance reviews in California.

Colorado Springs drew five bidders to replace AMR when its contract expires in early 2020. As with cable TV companies that use the city’s telephone poles, the ambulance contract provides a near monopoly to the winning firm.

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The city remains in the negotiation process with AMR, who was next in line in the bidding process, Fabos said.

“This … process was entered into with a single goal in mind: to improve the EMS transport system in Colorado Springs for the benefit of its residents,” the city news release said. “This goal has not changed.”

AMR issued a brief statement. “We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to sitting down to discuss the EMS system in Colorado Springs,” AMR operations chief Scott Lenn said in an email.

Fabos noted the city “will continue to pursue overall system improvement moving forward.”

Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist who joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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