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New Ambulance Contract Adds Money to Colorado Springs Budget

Colorado Springs will have an extra $1.17 million in its city coffers this year because of a new contract with American Medical Response ambulance service.

The City Council was briefed Monday by Fire Chief Christopher Riley and Deputy Fire Chief Ted Collas on the city's contract with the private ambulance service, which begins April 1.

In December, the city severed a partnership with El Paso County on a combined ambulance services contract and sought its own contract with AMR.

Collas said the new contract could be held up as national model. The deal with AMR says the ambulance company will reimburse the city $1.17 million annually for emergency medical services historically provided by the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

"That money goes back into the general fund and used by city. It was a win for the entire city," Collas said.

Council member Joel Miller asked if the $1.17 million will cover the true costs.

"I think it's wonderful that we will be reimbursed for the work you do," he told the chief. "Will it be enough?"

Riley said it would be, and that he believes the contract is fair to all parties. AMR will increase ambulance charges to patients by 5 percent, also effective April 1, a spokesman for AMR said Monday.

Collas said a key component of the new agreement is that there will be one medical director. In the past, there had been one medical director from the fire department and one from AMR.

The medical director works from Penrose-St. Francis and has deputy directors from both Penrose and Memorial hospitals, Collas said.

"We are getting 180 hours from these emergency room physicians - that is something that is simply unheard of in the industry," he said.

The new contract aims for 8-minute response times to areas formerly in the 12-minute response zones. Those neighborhoods include Briargate, Stetson Hills, Mountain Shadows, Broadmoor Bluffs, Rockrimmon and a section of Peregrine.

"The word of the day is 'improvement,'" Riley said.



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