Southwest Ambulance leaves Utah; dozens out of work

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LGLHOOK

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ksl.com - Southwest Ambulance leaves Utah; dozens out of work

SALT LAKE CITY -- More than 60 people are out of a job just five days before Christmas.

Southwest Ambulance laid off all 62 of its Utah employees. The company's president made the announcement several weeks ago.

Most are nervous about the future and sad to leave their jobs.

"It's kind of somber. It's kind of sad," said Dave Bogenrief, an EMT. "I mean, everybody's going to be parting ways. You make a lot of friends."

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the company is leaving Utah because it feels like its being forced out by what it calls Gold Cross Ambulance's monopoly of the market.

Southwest had been operating in Utah since 2006.
 

kd7rto

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Southwest needs to own up to their own bad business decisions and stop whining and trying to deflect blame to their competitors and Utah government agencies.

Their operation here is folding because their bid to Salt Lake City was so low that they were not able to make any money. Either they underestimated the cost of doing business (incompetence), or they were expecting that once they had a foot in the door, they would pickup other work that would make up for the initial loss (took a gamble and lost). Whichever is the case, it's nobody's fault but their own.
 

Observer1

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Gold Cross is temporarily servicing Salt Lake. Ironically the Utah Attorney General would not allow Southwest to sign a contract shorter than 4 years, Gold Cross was allowed to offer SLC a 1 year deal though.

Kd7rto: Couldnt disagree with you more. The Utah legislature, thanks in large part to over $150,000 in gifts from Gold Cross has kept competition from existing, and drove Southwest out. No private company should be endorsed by The government as the only option to provide a service, yet that's what Utah has done with Gold Cross. Southwest knows what they're doing, they're a far bigger company than Gold Cross. However other states aren't playing political games like Utah does. To say Southwest is the only one to blame when many outside observers have questioned Utah's stance is silly.
 

fastattackus

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Can you spell Monopoly?

This is a sad case of medical monopoly. This was a back room deal brokered between Gold Cross and the State of Utah to protect the Gold Cross monopoly on interfacility transport in the Salt Lake Valley.

As you may or may not have noticed, Gold Cross has bowed out of prehospital transport in most every city in the wasatch front now with the exception of Salt Lake City. That is because cities are supported in the legislature well enough to get that passed and take over their own 911 transport. Plus, the cities can make some money in the cities that have higher percentage of payers even on the 911 calls.

But the real cream comes on the interfacility transports. They don't happen unless there is guaranteed funding upfront. Which means guaranteed profit. Gold Cross was able to outspend and outfriend SouthWest in the legislature and basically get a no competition clause written into the state code.

Without the abillity to even compete for interfacility, and with the fact that salt lake city has the highest non collection rate in the state on ambulance calls, think transients and illegal aliens, it was clear that SouthWest couldn't afford to stay in utah.

And unlike what the previous poster said, they don't get to negotiate a price or contract. The ambulace fees are State mandated and can't be exceeded. The only negotiation that took place was payment back to Salt Lake City fire for providing the paramedic part of the service (which gold cross does to salt lake as well).

This was the case of a private company coming to a supposedly right to work state and supposedly pro business state,(yes, ashamedly I'm also a republican) and then being told that we had no need for them to apply and compete and may the best service win.

It's too bad, I think that the employee wages and working conditions increased as soon as Gold Cross had to compete.
 

kd7rto

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You've both proven your point about government corruption, but do you really believe that bidding a job at a loss, with the expectation that it will lead to other opportunities, is a reasonable business strategy?
 

fastattackus

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I don't think they thought they would loose as much money as they did. I think that most people are unaware of the great number of homeless and illegal aliens in the state of utah. And certainly Gold Cross didn't share any of their billing information as it pertains to collection rates with Southwest.

So ya, bidder beware, but once your in, of course any good business is going to try to make their bottom dollar profitable. I can't really blame them for trying to break into a new market just like they've done in many other states with success.

I would just like more transparency in the whole process for anybody dealing with the government.
 
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