Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Shawnee County Proceeds Carefully to Establish Process to Choose Ambulance Service

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Shawnee County Proceeds Carefully to Establish Process to Choose Ambulance Service

Article excerpt

Shawnee County Commissioners Kevin Cook, Shelly Buhler and Bob Archer on Monday voted 3-0 to defer action until their Thursday meeting on a proposal to seek bids from interested ambulance service providers to begin in 2017.

The move came after Robert E. "Tuck" Duncan Jr., a Topeka attorney representing Tyler, Texas-based Paramedics Plus, suggested the county make two changes.

Duncan proposed adding a statement to the proposed bid document indicating ambulance service providers seeking the contract are encouraged to suggest additional alternatives, methods, concepts and ideas for providing emergency medical services in Shawnee County.

Cook made a motion to add that wording to the document but withdrew it after Buhler said she would like to give the public time to share input with the commission about the proposed change and how it might affect the selection process.

Nelson Casteel, the county's ambulance compliance officer, told commissioners the addition of the wording would "add a layer of difficulty" to the process of choosing a provider, but said he felt confident the six-person selection committee charged with making a recommendation to the commission would be up to the challenge.

Scott Lenn, regional director for the county's current ambulance service -- Greenwich, Colo.-based American Medical Response -- said he was comfortable with the proposed wording change.

Duncan also contended the proposed document didn't share all the information potential bidders need in order to ascertain their ability to respond to calls in Shawnee County.

Potential bidders need detailed information about such things as the nature of the calls, where they come from, what times of day they occur and how often patients require ambulance transportation, Duncan said.

He told commissioners AMR isn't providing that because AMR contends the information is proprietary, "but it's your data. …

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