Corporate greed has struck again, and this time it could leave more than a dozen Bay State communities without 9-1-1 service.
American Medical Response (AMR), the company that provides ambulance and other Emergency Medical Services for 14 Massachusetts towns, has threatened to walk away from its contracts. Citing a need to increase profit margins, AMR has demanded significant financial concessions from more than 450 local paramedics, vowing to cease operations outright if First Responders don’t cave in.
As a result, residents of Avon, Brockton, Dedham, Framingham, New Bedford, Newbury, Newburyport, Plymouth, Salisbury, Taunton, Waltham, Wellesley, West Newbury and Weymouth – as well as surrounding communities that rely on mutual aid – could soon find themselves without access to emergency medical service.
That’s why more than 100 paramedics and community allies gathered in Taunton this week to call on AMR to put patient safety first for a change. Among them was David Holway, President of the National Association of Government Employees, which represents local paramedics. Holway offered a stark assessment of the situation: "This isn't just a fight about the 450 AMR employees in Massachusetts and the threat that they're under; this is a fight about how corporate interests are trying to eliminate the middle class in America.”
Holway’s comments referenced a private equity firm’s $3.2 billion buyout of AMR, which reigns as the nation’s largest private ambulance provider. Since its 2011 sale, AMR has pushed wage and benefit cuts for first responders – and consistently placed profits over the millions of patients they serve. The model is strikingly similar to those imposed by other private equity firms like Bain Capital, where profit margins rule above all else.
“Don’t let them fool you – this is all about money,” Holway told paramedics this week. If he’s right, both first responders and patients are sure to suffer in the coming weeks.