Saginaw County approves MMR contract - WNEM TV 5

Saginaw County approves MMR contract

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A controversial decision in one local county could affect people's wallets and, some say, even their safety. Saginaw County renewed a contract for emergency services, but that's leaving some left in the dust.

Those in favor of putting the contract for Saginaw County's ambulance services up for bid say the process would benefit the citizens. They say the competition could result in cheaper, possibly even more efficient service, but people will never know, at least not for another six years or so.

After hearing pleas for and against extending MMR's contract for providing ambulance service for most of Saginaw County, the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the county's contract with MMR for another six years.

"I think it was a good decision by the board. We're going to continue to do a good job for the citizens of Saginaw," said MMR President Mark Thompson. "We do 30,000 surveys a year. Last year, all 24 categories improved over the previous year. So we think hearing from your patients and that's a good outcome." MMR has a near-exclusive contract with the county.

Some say by not putting the contract up for bid and exploring other options, residents of Saginaw may not be getting the best service at the best price.

"We think the residents of Saginaw County deserve to have an open American market approach to this, where everybody is given an opportunity to bid so that the best provider can be chosen," says Derek Wilczynski, attorney for the state.

Board members say the system in place is working so there's no need to change it. The fact that MMR also provides jobs the area was also a factor.

"They are good employees here in Saginaw. They are in the city, and they have over 200 employees. That's important to us, too. We need to keep those people employed. We need to keep them in our city of Saginaw," said Saginaw County Board Member Cheryl Hadsall.

MMR has been serving Saginaw County for more than 20 years. Their current contract doesn't expire until the end of next year. That's when the six year extension approved Tuesday will kick in.

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