Pittsfield, Mass., AMR Laying Off 35, Closing


 
 

Scott Stafford | | Friday, October 12, 2007


PITTSFIELD -- American Medical Response, one of two emergency medical response companies in Pittsfield, will close its local operation as of Dec. 31.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the company distributed layoff notices to its 35 full- and part-time employees. According to one employee, who wished to remain unnamed, the company was in the midst of contract negotiations with local union officials at the time.

Even though the city of Pittsfield has two emergency response companies handling calls, the city has nevertheless had to seek emergency aid from neighboring towns when crews are spread too thin.

But Pittsfield acting Fire Chief James Sullivan said the loss of AMR emergency response teams should not affect the city s ability to respond to emergencies, as the other company contracted by the city, County Ambulance, is working to add equipment and personnel.

I believe County is adding vehicles and personnel to meet the anticipated need, he said.

According to David Pelletier, general manager of the Western Massachusetts division of AMR, the company has been working in the Pittsfield area for more than 10 years, with a dispatch garage on West Housatonic Street.

By phone from his Springfield office, Pelletier attributed the closure to declining reimbursements from health insurance companies and Medicare and to the increased expense of doing business.

He said the closing should not reflect poorly on local AMR employees.

We re very proud of the employees up there, he said. They are hard workers and good people.

He said the company will be meeting with union representatives soon to discuss severance details.

Declining reimbursements caused revenue declines. Expenses grew to exceed the income, which makes it hard to run a business unit, Pelletier said.

The ambulances will be redeployed throughout our company, he added.

Another AMR employee, who also requested anonymity, said that many of the laid-off workers are applying for jobs at County Ambulance and have had favorable results. He declined to elaborate.

Brian Andrews, president of County Ambulance Service, said his company is indeed moving to pick up the slack left when AMR leaves.

AMR employees are being interviewed for at least a dozen full-time openings and a few part-time slots, he said.

AMR closing makes us a bigger company over here, Andrews said. We know there is going to be a void, so we ve already started the process buying more vehicles and interviewing their employees.

The family-owned County Ambulance, which has been working in Pittsfield since 1982, also has a new ambulance unit on the way and is in the process of purchasing others, although it is too early to determine exactly how many they will need.

The decline in reimbursements from insurance companies and Medicare, Andrews said, has been an issue for the industry, but hasn t had as much of an effect on County because we re a small company, and we don t have a lot of that big corporate overhead.

To reach Scott Stafford:sstafford@berkshireeagle.com , (413) 496-6240.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Operations and Protcols, Training

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Image Trend: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ImageTrend just challenged NEMSIS TAC and a couple others.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.?

A.J. Heightman participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a big way!
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Details on Discipline Released in D.C. Investigation

Interim fire chief claims punishment was not severe enough.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Kentucky Firefighters Recovering from Injuries

One of the four remains in critical condition.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >