KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County is seeking an emergency medical provider and four companies have put in bids. Proposals were due on Sept. 12.
American Medical Response, or AMR, is the current EMS provider. The company has submitted a bid for the new contract.
AmeriPro of Tennessee, Falck, and Priority Ambulance also made bids.
"The county has created an evaluation committee. This evaluation committee will independently score each proposal based on the criteria that we have in the RFP (Request for Proposals)," said Matt Myers, the Director of Procurement for Knox County. "Once everyone is finished with this scoring, we will convene probably in the conference room here and discuss to make sure that everybody, you know, we saw the same thing, read the same thing, understood the same things that were interested in the proposal. If there are questions that the committee may have, we may reach out to the different providers and get a response from that."
Myers adds during the process, there may be presentations or interviews by the EMS providers for the committee.
"Once the committee has all that information, they will be allowed to, you know, look at their scores, maybe make changes if they've found something out that they didn't necessarily understand before," said Myers. "And then we'll total those scores. And then we will start negotiations, and we'll make an award."
Myers said the goal is to have a provider chosen before the Knox County Commission meeting in October. He also said the committee has certain criteria they're looking for in an EMS provider.
"We're looking for patient care, it's the number one priority," said Myers. "And that's what we're really trying to focus on, is that patient care. There were a lot of other criteria within the RFP, you know, such as your operations, such as your fleet, things like that — but really focusing on patient care is the number one priority."
He says he wants the public to know that this process is done for anything the county has an RFP for.
The contract for the company that gets selected will begin Feb. 1, 2024. The new contract would then be set to end on Jan. 31, 2029. Knox County says the dates are subject to change and upon agreement of both the Contractor and Knox County, it may be extended for an additional five years, which may result in a total of ten years.
Knox County also reserves the right to revoke the award if a pattern of unavailability arises with the vendor.
WBIR reached out to all four companies who put in a bid.
Falck shared a statement via email, available below.
"Falck has been helping people in emergency situations for more than 100 years. As a leading provider, we believe we can bring our worldwide experience to Knox County to offer enhanced emergency medical services."
Larry Richardson, the Chief Business Officer and Co-Founder of AmeriPro also shared a message. He says AmeriPro is a very tech-enabled company.
"We haven't adhered to the traditional EMS models across the country used by some legacy companies," said Richardson. "And with that, we're able to bring different types of services and different kinds of level of health care and access to health care. So we want to bring those services to Knox County and increase the service level to the citizens there."
AMR and Priority Ambulance both declined to comment.