Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough transport agency blocks ambulance expansion

TAMPA — The agency that regulates cars for hire in Hillsborough County blocked one ambulance company's latest bid Wednesday to compete head-to-head with two entrenched competitors.

In doing so, the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission effectively preserved what the applicant's attorney described as a duopoly that could ultimately cost people who call 911.

A motion to approve the application by Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan died on a 3-3 vote.

TransCare Medical Transportation Services, a subsidiary of the nonprofit Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, currently provides ambulances that respond to 911 calls for non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses. It says the service is a money loser.

It was seeking access, as it has unsuccessfully in the past, to the more profitable business of transporting patients between medical treatment centers, for which insurers usually pay. TransCare is allowed to provide the service only as a backup if American Medical Response and AmeriCare Ambulance Service, the county's other two major non-emergency 911 responders, are unavailable.

In recent years, TransCare says it has been forced to respond to an increasing majority of 911 calls, which often are canceled or are made by patients without insurance. That trend is unsustainable, says TransCare attorney Steven Anderson, and could force his client to pull back on 911 calls.

But that's the deal TransCare signed up for when it entered an agreement in 1996 with one of the other companies to provide basic life support services to transport mental-health patients, say attorneys for the other two providers. TransCare has filed a separate federal lawsuit questioning whether it is still bound by the agreement.

A hearing officer in the PTC matter recommended that the board delay a decision until the court case is concluded.

Hagan argued the board was not obligated to wait for the outcome of the suit. He said he believed TransCare met the requirement of showing it would fill a public convenience or need.

Attorneys for the other companies said TransCare failed to show there was a need.

Hillsborough transport agency blocks ambulance expansion 08/14/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 11:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Sheriff's Office: Drug dispute preceded fatal Largo motel shooting


    LARGO — A fight over drugs preceded the shooting death of a 47-year-old man Thursday night at a Largo motel, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said Sunday.

    Angel E. Martinez, 24, is accused in the shooting death of Ricky Garland, 47, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. [Pinellas County Jail]
  2. Nearly 40 hospitalized on first day of Sunset Music Festival, on pace to exceed last year


    To reduce the number of medical emergencies this year, sponsors of the Sunset Music Festival promised heightened security and safety measures during this weekend's event at Raymond James Stadium.

    Thousands of people crowd the main stage at the Sunset Music Festival on Saturday in the north Raymond James Stadium parking area. The temperature at the time of the photo was 92 degrees. [LUIS SANTANA   |   Times]
  3. Woman killed in overnight Temple Terrace apartment fire, city says


    TEMPLE TERRACE — A woman died early Sunday as a result of a fire at an apartment complex, city officials said.

  4. Video: Indianapolis 500 drivers in fiery crash somehow walk away uninjured

    Auto racing

    Scott Dixon and Jay Howard avoided injury in a spectacular crash - or what Dixon labeled "a wild ride" afterward - during the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

  5. Homeland security chief defends Kushner's alleged proposal for 'back channel' to the Russians as 'a good thing"


    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the lone administration official to speak out publicly about reports that Jared Kushner sought a back channel to communicate with the Russian government, defended the move, saying it was a "good thing" for the U.S. government.

    Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30. [Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford]