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Harper Woods

January 25, 2013

City makes MedStar agreement official

By April Lehmbeck
C & G Staff Writer

HARPER WOODS — The city has been working with MedStar for ambulance service for some time, but the relationship is now in writing with a contract approved at the Jan. 23 City Council meeting.

The city decided to move toward privatizing ambulance transport service, due to financial issues. The city heard proposals from representatives of four of five ambulance companies that submitted proposals in July 2011.

In 2011, MedStar agreed to respond to calls in the city — a move that was aimed to help lower the need to rely so heavily on mutual aid from other communities. Later, they started providing all transport service in the city. They’ve been servicing the city without a contract ever since.

“MedStar has consistently provided excellent service to our community over the last two years,” City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk said.

The council voted unanimously to approve an emergency medical services contract with MedStar and waive the competitive bidding process during the Jan. 23 meeting.

“In consideration of the past outstanding service, no cost to the city and prior review of other service providers, I am requesting that any competitive bidding be waived.”

While MedStar will continue working in the city and providing hospital transport for residents, the city’s firefighters will continue as first-responders to medical calls in the city.

MedStar will provide both ambulance transport and respond to mutual-aid calls.

The company has agreements with other local communities, as well, including Grosse Pointe Farms and Eastpointe. The ambulance responding to calls in Harper Woods will have at least one emergency medical technician and one paramedic.

“MedStar assures that they will maintain a response time of eight minutes, 59 seconds or less in 90 percent of all calls for service,” Skotarczyk said.

Residents seem pleased with the service, too.

“In reviewing monthly satisfaction reports provided by MedStar, it is apparent that the community has been satisfied with the service,” Skotarczyk said.

MedStar will have an ambulance on standby, ready for calls at “strategic locations” in the city, but Council member Vivian Sawicki said she hopes the company will set up shop in the city’s Fire Department as a central location.

It was something city officials had discussed in the past.

“I would be very happy if we were able to keep it that close,” Sawicki said.

“That would be wonderful, (and it) makes a lot of sense,” she said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer April Lehmbeck at alehmbeck@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1043.