The state’s current contract will be extended as a new procurement process begins.

The Hawaii State Department of Health announced Monday that it had ended its upcoming $58.9 million contract for ground ambulance services with Falck Northwest Corp., scheduled to begin servicing Kauai and Maui counties in December.

This cancellation comes after paramedic unions and the incumbent provider American Medical Response criticized the DOH in early September for its contract with Falck, a company that was fined in San Diego for poor response times, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Additionally, the unions said that the request for proposal provided a lower standard of care than normal.

It did not require personnel to have training in Advanced Life Support, which includes skills like inserting IVs and administering medication.

Falck had told the Maui News in September that it would maintain the level of ALS service under the new contract.

DOH’s press release says that director Kenneth Fink concluded that ALS skills should have been specified in the requests for proposal. He canceled the current RFPs and is directing the procurement process to start over.

“I’d like to reassure the residents of Kauai and Maui Counties that the next RFPs will be clear that the current ambulance staffing level will be maintained,” Fink said in the release.

To ensure Kauai and Maui residents still have access to ambulances, DOH is in the meantime extending its existing contracts with AMR.

In an emailed statement Monday, AMR said it supported the decision.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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