Ambulance service providers vying for contract as procurement process restarts following controversy

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

 A longtime ambulance service provider for Kauaʻi and Maui will once again compete for an emergency services contract alongside the previously chosen provider, whose contract was canceled late last year following protests that led the state to cancel and restart the application process. 

Paramedics and firefighters load an injured female hiker into an AMR ambulance on March 13, 2023 for transport to Wilcox Medical Center. Photo Daren Jenner / Kauaʻi Now

“We look forward and we’re very confident in our ability to provide all that’s required and requested and more,” said Speedy Bailey, the regional director for American Medical Response (AMR) in Hawaiʻi, on April 19.

AMR has provided ground ambulance services on both islands for over 44 years. However, in August last year, the Department of Health (DOH) announced it would switch to a new provider, Falck Northwest Corp.

Falck, an emergency assistance organization with no previous history in the state, was awarded 3.5-year contracts, totaling roughly $32 million for Kaua‘i and $59 million for Maui to provide ambulance services on both islands. Both contracts were expected to begin on Jan. 1, 2024, and run through June 30, 2027, with the possibility of a 24-month extension.

AMR immediately protested the decision, citing errors within the terms of the DOH’s Request for Proposals (RFP), including the removal of a previous requirement that every ambulance be an Advanced Life Support unit, instead of just Basic Life Support. 

“I think the process was faulty. I think it was a paper chase. I don’t think it factored proven abilities and track record in the field,” Bailey previously told The Garden Island in September 2023. 


In early October, amid its protests, the Kaua‘i County Council passed a resolution in support of AMR, urging the DOH to continue with AMR as the provider.

The DOH later announced on Oct. 23 that both its procurement and award to Falck had been canceled following their review of AMR’s protest and that they would restart the process due to flaws in its procurement process.  

Several months later, the DOH announced earlier this week that it had re-issued its RFP.

“While it was never the intent of DOH to reduce the qualifications of emergency responders, the previous RFPs did not make this entirely clear,” said Hawai‘i State Health Director Kenneth Fink in a statement. “The new RFPs clearly require that every district will have an ambulance staffed with a paramedic and a second responder who is at least an EMT, which is the current qualification for and level of staffing.”

Other changes with the new RFP requirements include a second ambulance on Molokaʻi. The DOH also noted an emphasis on quality, performance, and disaster preparedness. 


Falck will once again reapply for the contract and submit a new RFP alongside AMR. 

“Falck looks forward to competing again for the privilege to serve Kaua‘i and Maui County and to support the paramedics and EMTs delivering care to those communities,” said Julian Dewberry, the director of business development for Falck USA, in an email response on April 19. 

Dewberry and other Falck representatives have maintained throughout the process that they were awarded the original contract based on quality and never had plans to cut services. 

“We commend DOH for releasing a thoughtful and thorough request for proposals reflecting the feedback and needs of Kaua‘i and Maui County, as well as the first responders serving these communities.” 

AMRʻs current contract has remained active on both islands, as it was extended by the DOH to ensure ground ambulance services continued without uninterrupted access. 


Bailey thanked the community and the DOH, saying the department listened to concerns and strengthened ambulance quality with the new RFP requirements. 

“We’re extremely proud of AMR Hawaiʻi’s responsiveness to disasters and in preparedness,” said Bailey.

“We were there during Hurricane Iniki. We were there during the Kauaʻi floods of 2018. We were there last year during the Maui wildfires. We have experience. We have a track record of taking care of business.”

The procurement process is open to all service providers and applications are due May 30. Bailey mentioned being aware that Falck planned to reapply, but he expects that other organizations will also submit applications.

“You never know. It’s an open door,” said Bailey. “That’s sort of par for the course.” 

For the Kaua‘i RFP, click here.

For the Maui RFP, click here.

Emma Grunwald
Emma Grunwald is a reporter for Kauaʻi Now. You can reach her at
Read Full Bio

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Kauai Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments