Rural/Metro merging with rival ambulance service


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Colorado-based medical services company has reached an agreement to buy Rural Metro Corporation, the premier ambulance service provider in Western New York.

In the business world, it is a case of a big fish getting swallowed up by an even bigger fish, and the deal–if the government approves it–should be good for Buffalo.

Rural/Metro has an exclusive contract to provide ambulance service in the city and serves many of the outlying suburbs. But lengthy delays in response times have led to withering criticism of Rural Metro, prompting the Buffalo’ Common Council to put off a vote for more than a year to approve the city’s latest contract.

Ironically one of Rural/Metro’s harshest critics is now offering to buy the company. American Medical Response (AMR) is the ambulance subsidiary of Envision Healthcare Holdings Inc., of Greenwood Village, CO. Rural/Metro is based in Scottsdale, AZ.
AMR competed with Rural/Metro for the city’s latest contract.

Lovejoy Councilmember Richard Fontana said he believes the merger could make Rural/Metro’s new contract with the city even better.

“I think the new contract would be better for the residents, that is why I am willing to vote for it. But Rural/Metro still needs to address the needs of this community and we encourage them to have as many ambulances out as possible.

Fontana added, “under the new agreement there is about 4 more ambulances out per shift, and that is what is going to be beneficial to the residents.”

Rural/Metro is planning to make another presentation to the Common Council, next Wednesday, during a special session, but Fontana suspects any vote on the company’s new contract will be put off until the merger goes through.

Officials from both companies predict the sale will be scrutinized for anti-trust concerns, and could close within 3 to 4 months.

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