39 EMTs to lose ambulance jobs in Stanislaus County

gstapley@modbee.comOctober 22, 2013 

TB AMR Disaster Unit 1

TED BENSON — The Modesto Bee Buy Photo

— American Medical Response will lay off 39 emergency medical technicians, but ambulances will continue to roll to 911 emergencies in Modesto, Turlock, Ceres, Salida, Empire and Keyes, company officials say.

AMR last week notified the employees that they will be laid off Nov. 11 because the company lost the nonemergency hospital transport contract it had held with Doctors Medical Center for at least 16 years.

Those to be let go represent 17 percent of the company’s 225 paramedics and EMTs in Stanislaus County, but they represent only the number that AMR dedicates to nonemergency transport services, company spokesman Jason Sorrick said.

“The emergency side is completely separate from the nonemergency,” Sorrick said. “There will be no impact at all to our 911 emergency services.”

ProTransport-1 outbid AMR for the Doctors contract, which involves taking stable patients between hospitals.

On Tuesday, ProTransport issued a release saying the company is recruiting EMTs, paramedics and nurses in Modesto, Sacramento and the Bay Area. The company hired 295 people this year and has been listed on Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest-growing companies for three years.

“(ProTransport) has evolved from small business to industry trendsetter,” the release says. “It has used Stanislaus County, which also features a station in Hughson, as a proving ground for its services and capabilities for eight-plus years.”

AMR continues to handle Doctors’ critical-care transports, which require a nurse on board – a higher level than nonemergencies but not the same as 911 calls.

In a letter to employees dated Oct. 14, shared with The Bee by a pink-slipped worker, AMR cited the contract loss and noted that EMTs could apply for open positions in other Northern California AMR operations.

The employee, who asked not to be identified, said EMTs’ labor contract with AMR expired 50 days ago. The Bee was unable to reach the union, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Workers Local 4911.

Sorrick said of the 39 to be laid off, 27 are part-time workers and 12 are full-timers with low seniority.

Bee staff writer Garth Stapley can be reached at gstapley@modbee.com or (209) 578-2390.

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