NWTHS wants to sell ambulance service

by Larry Lemmons
Newschannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Amarillo's ambulance service has been losing money so Northwest Texas Healthcare System wants to sell it to a private company.

The Amarillo City Commission was introduced to the CEO of American Medical Response this afternoon and told that Northwest wants to sell its ambulance service to the national company. "It's not a done deal but Kyle Sanders, the CEO of Northwest Texas Healthcare System felt confident enough to present AMR South Region CEO Ted Van Horne to the City Commission Tuesday.  Sanders says, "We can at least make them aware of it, get an initial reaction so we can move forward with the due diligence before we spend too much time going down a road if it's something the commission or the staff at the city did not feel would be favorable."

Staff at Amarillo Medical Services have been told of the potential sale. AMR says they will try to rehire all of them if the sale goes through. AMR has more than 20-thousand employees.  Van Horne says, "The impact should be minimal but we have to make sure we have the right people and a motivated group and we think we'll have that because everything we've seen so far, it's a great work force."

The Commission appeared receptive to the idea.  Mayor Debra McCartt says, "We had some questions today. I think we'll have some more coming. And this is just an opportunity for us to do a better job for the citizens of Amarillo."

American Medical Response is contracted byFEMA to provide services. The company transports 3-million patients a year.

They're a large company so they say they can use economy of scale to save money.  Also, Northwest would pay the company to transport indigents. The sale would have to be approved by the Commission but Northwest hopes that can happen this year.