Washington County to end outdated contract with ambulance provider in June of 2023

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 27, 2022

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Public Health Division

The Washington County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted last week to withdraw from its contract with ambulance provider Metro West on June 30, 2023, at the end of the current 18-month contract period. 

The contract was first implemented in 1997 and does not give the county the ability to make needed improvements to its emergency medical transport services. The county will launch a new request for proposal process that will invite all qualified emergency medical transport providers to apply for a new contract that will start in 2023.  

“We want to ensure that our community members have access to the highest quality emergency response resources. Our current contract is more than 20 years old and does not provide the flexibility to make necessary changes that will modernize our system and allow for improved services,” said Washington County Board Chair Kathryn Harrington.   

Those changes include:  

  • Improved dispatch system—would allow 9-1-1 operators to see where ambulances are located and to dispatch closest ambulance to scene.

  • New quality metrics—current contract only requires vendor to measure response time. New contract would also require vendor to measure and share quality outcomes. 

  • New data sharing system—would require vendor to implement new computerized data sharing system so fire departments, 9-1-1 operators, ambulance vendor and county EMS staff can monitor quality and see emerging call patterns. 

The vote comes after two different consultants evaluated the current system over the last 10 years and made recommendations for improvement. The board was reacting to a proposal made by the Washington County Emergency Medical Services program and the Washington County Emergency Medical Services Alliance — whose governing board is made up of an assistant county administrator and four area fire chiefs. 

“A new contract will allow us to implement a modernized EMS system that integrates with our healthcare and emergency partners and delivers patient-centered care to members of our community,” said David Downey, chair of the Washington County Emergency Medical Services Alliance and chief of Hillsboro Fire and Rescue.   

Metro West will continue to provide ambulance services to Washington County throughout the remainder of their contract and can apply for the new contract.  

Media Contact:

Mary Sawyers, Public Health Communications Coordinator