HONOLULU (KHON2) — Who will provide 911 emergency medical services on Maui and Kauai? That’s the question after the Department of Health scrapped it’s latest contract awarding Falck Northwest Corp. the job. The Maui paramedics union who said they want to ensure this time around the contract stipulates services remain at their current level.
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Dial 911 and an ambulance with paramedics and EMTs are often the first to respond.
And Donovan Keliipuleole, president of the Maui Paramedics Association said any decrease in services is unacceptable.
“I think the biggest fear truly was the way they wrote the contract,” Keliipuleole explained. “There was no protections in place to stop that from happening.”
This after DOH canceled a contract they’d awarded to Falck to provide ground ambulance transport for Kauai and Maui County.
The problem according to Dr. Kenneth Fink, the state director of Health, was the initial Request for Proposal (RFP) did not include detailed requirements concerning staffing.
In a statement Fink said:
“I’d like to reassure the residents of Kauaʻi and Maui Counties the next RFPs will be clear and current ambulance staffing level will be maintained.”
Keliipuleole said they want a seat at the table.
“I think the most important thing to to really understand is, if we had an opportunity to be a part of this process, the fear of downgraded services, the fear of a of a situation occurring that wouldn’t provide the best care possible, wouldn’t be there,” he said.
American Medical Response, or AMR, has provided ground and air emergency medical services throughout Hawaii for the past 44 years.
“We’re very confident in the work that we’ve done all these years,” said Speedy Bailey, AMR Hawaii Regional Director. ” We’re a trusted and integrated provider, with health care across the state.”
When the DOH announced in August that it was awarding the $59 Million contract for Maui and a $32 Million contract for Kauai to Falck, AMR filed a bid protest.
“We had concerns about the decision,” Bailey said. “But we believe the department made the right decision. And we appreciate the time it took to do the review.”
Bailey said AMR will negotiate an extension of its contract, which was set to expire Dec. 27, while the DOH begins a new procurement process.
“I can say that unequivocally at this moment that Dec. 28, all the services that are happening today, we will be providing,” he said.