The city of Helena and Lewis and Clark County are taking bids for a company to provide ambulance services in the Helena Valley.
The city and county Emergency Medical Services Board has put out a request for qualifications. The company will have to provide basic and advanced life support services in much of Lewis and Clark County, including the Helena, East Helena, Canyon Creek, Wolf Creek and Craig areas. They will also assist the Lincoln and Augusta Volunteer Ambulance services on serious incidents.
This service is currently being provided by St. Peter’s Health. Helena Fire Department Chief Ken Wood, who is handling the RFQ process, said St. Peter’s has held an ambulance contract for about 20 years. The contract was last extended about a decade ago, and it is now set to expire.
Wood said the request is open nationally. He said leaders have no issues with the service St. Peter’s has provided, but they want to look at all options.
“We just feel as local government that we have a responsibility to the community, to the taxpayer, to make sure that we are being fair, that we are looking for the best possible service,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re transparent and have a fair process.”
Wood said leaders will be looking for an ambulance company that can maintain the current levels of service and work well in rural areas.
“We have a lot of rural fire departments, quick response units that need this level of service, so we have to be sure that it meets everybody’s needs, and not just one entity or one jurisdiction,” he said.
The city and county will take bids through Aug. 5. They will then score each response on criteria like current service performance, employees and equipment.
Wood said they hope to select a provider and start negotiating a contract this fall.
“We’ll get into the details of what that service needs to look like,” he said.
The entire process could be wrapped up by the end of the year.
So far, Wood said they have not received any proposals. However, St. Peter’s released a statement to MTN confirming they will be submitting one.
“St. Peter’s Health has provided emergency medical services for the Greater Helena area for many years and we will be responding to the city/county request for qualifications to continue providing emergency medical transport service,” said Andrea Groom, vice president of communications for St. Peter’s. “Our growing team of more than 50 talented paramedics, advanced EMTs and EMTs is proud to serve our community by having a presence at various community events and providing high quality emergency medical care.”
-Reported by Jonathon Ambarian/MTN News