With no emergencies or alarm bells after more than two years, Spokane Valley Fire commissioners unanimously agreed Monday to extend a regional pact for ambulance service for another three years.
And, should the city of Spokane also climb on board, the cost per trip.
Larry Rider, deputy fire chief, said the gestation period for the agreement “took a really long time” before finally being approved in 2010. The contract -- which is with American Medical Response and dictates response-time guideless based on contract and fixed costs for ambulance transport -- extends beyond Spokane Valley Fire to the cities of Airway Heights, Medical Lake and Cheney along with Fire Districts 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13. The city of Spokane has its own contract with AMR and is not currently part of the Spokane County Ambulance Service Cooperative.
However, the Spokane could join up after Oct. 31 of this year when its contract expires.
Spokane Valley Fire Chief Mike Thompson – who will retire sometime this year – has been largely credited with making the cooperative effort happen. Through the join contract, the ambulance provider is more accountable for quicker response times and lower rates for those requiring service. The fire districts also get response-time guarantees, better billing tracking and generally lower rates.
“You’ve done a great job,” said fire Commissioner Ron Schmidt.
In other news, Kolby Hanson was chosen by the board to continue as chairman for the next year. Joe Dawson was picked to be vice chairman.