A national emergency services company is aiming to fill the void left by the collapse of TransCare EMS last year that left area towns and health care facilities with a shortage of ambulance crews.
American Medical Response of Greenwood Village, Colorado, bought TransCare’s certificates of need, allowing it to provide basic life support, advanced life support and ambulance services in Westchester and New York City.
AMR has set up a base at 35 Bartels Place in New Rochelle.
“There is a void locally,” said Patrick Pickering, AMR’s operations manager for Metro New York, “and we’re looking to fill it.”
TransCare had 911 contracts with Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and other towns in the Hudson Valley, as well as with New York City and several hospitals. The headquarters was in Brooklyn and it had a base in Mount Vernon.
In February 2016, it declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy and fired 1,200 workers across the country.
AMR bills itself as the nation’s largest pre-hospital emergency care provider, handling 4.5 million patients a year from operations in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
It provides mutual aid or backup ambulances, for example, when there is a surge in demand. It staffs concerts and sports events, including NASCAR races.
It handles disasters, terrorism and public health emergencies under a contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This year, for example, AMR has responded to wildfires in California and to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
“We still have people on the ground in Puerto Rico assisting with the efforts there,” Pickering said.
The ambulance company has regional connections. Edward Van Horne, the CEO, is from Rye and had worked for the Harrison ambulance service. Pickering retired in 2015 as chief of the West Shore Fire Department in Connecticut.
New Rochelle was chosen for the regional base because it is centrally located, close to Interstate 95 and U.S. Highway 1, and the rents are cheaper here than in New York City.
AMR is negotiating contracts with area health care systems, hospitals, nursing homes and 911-systems.
For now, it does a couple of transports a day. Its air ambulance division also transports patients from across the country and overseas to area hospitals for advanced medical procedures.
AMR has 21 people in New Rochelle, including 15 emergency medical technicians and 5 paramedics. It has six ambulances and two fly cars – quick response vehicles staffed by medics who don’t transport patients.
Pickering said he has a hundred applicants for 10 openings. Entry level EMTs are paid $14.60 an hour and paramedics $22.70. More experienced employees make more money.
As word spreads about the quality of their work, Pickering said, he expects the business to grow quickly.
“We’re looking to establish our brand.”