GSGAs a lifelong Merced County resident and health care professional, I have grave concerns regarding the contract dispute between American Medical Response and Riggs Ambulance Service.
I am a full-time registered nurse in the Mercy Medical Center emergency room. I got my start at Riggs in 1997 and still work there. My first exposure was through ROP classes offered through Atwater High and the Office of Education. Riggs employees guided me and offered an in-depth learning experience during a crucial time in my life. This education paved the way to where I'm at today.
It is obvious that I am biased towards Riggs; however, I have worked with AMR and worked at other agencies that have direct relationships with AMR. I have never had a serious problem with their services and their line employees have great character and professionalism.
As positive as my experience has been working with AMR, it is absolutely and abundantly clear Merced County and its citizens would not be AMR's primary interest. AMR is a very large corporation. The goal for AMR is domination of market areas. There is no incentive or personal responsibility for a corporation like AMR to invest time, manpower and finances to a county with our statistics. We are a vast rural area with many disadvantaged patients. AMR will not voluntary cater to the needs of our community.
Merced County is the only county Riggs operates in. The entire operation is local, which means local money, local management, local tax dollars, local morale. Riggs has a vested interest in our community; we serve the needs of our community bearing in mind our families live here, and our success is directly tied to our neighbors and communities. Our infrastructure is 64 years in the making. Every aspect of our service is local, which is not what you will find with AMR.
The situation has been blurred by the faulty bidding process. I only ask of you to give special thought and consideration. Please keep in mind this is not just a contract dispute, this is a vital wedge of stability of the local healthcare system.
Avelar is a Merced resident.