Port Arthur city manager, mayor, as well as Acadian officials share details of contract miss

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

The City of Port Arthur is again pursuing more than one ambulance company after longtime provider Acadian opted not to sign a contract.

City Ambulance is now operating as the sole ambulance service in the city effective Nov. 3.

Port Arthur City Manager Ron Burton said the city would send out Requests for Proposals in the near future and Acadian can apply again.

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A specific date for the RFPs is not yet available.

Burton said the goal is to have more than one ambulance service.

“We recognize the demand is there, and we recognize, as well, we need to take care of our citizens by providing them with choices,” Burton said.

Mayor Thurman Bill Bartie said the city council is moving forward with the recommendation of the fire chief to have more than one ambulance service operate in Port Arthur.

Bartie said he is a proponent of following the recommendations of professionals and that councils, in the past, were notorious for not doing what the professionals advised them to do.

Bartie said an hour after the contract was signed with City Ambulance, they went out on an emergency call and “delivered in the prescribed response time that we ask emergency personnel to arrive.”

Residents have reportedly told council there were times they did not receive medical response in a timely manner because there was no Acadian unit available.

“And that is unacceptable,” Bartie said.

City leaders approved a contract for ambulance services with Acadian and Viking Enterprises doing business as City Ambulance Service late last month contingent on each meeting requirements of the city.

Contract negotiations were held, and at the 11th hour Acadian requested several changes, Burton said.

This last minute change was not practical and the contract went unsigned by Acadian, he added.

On Monday, officials with Acadian released a statement regarding ambulance service in Port Arthur, saying they were presented with a one-year, non-exclusive agreement to continue operations in the city and the city established Nov. 10 for the execution of the agreement.

Officials from Acadian met with several city officials, including Fire Chief Gregory Benson and City Manager Ronald Burton, to discuss operational details and seek clarification on how the new, multi-provider system would be implemented, according to the statement from Acadian.

During this time Acadian continued to provide service to the city under the previous agreement.

“On Nov. 10 we received a letter from the City of Port Arthur advising us that Acadian Ambulance would no longer be able to operate under the terms of the previous agreement while we continue to clarify the terms of the new proposed agreement,” the statement read.

Eric Thibodeaux, regional vice president for Acadian Ambulance Service, told Port Arthur Newsmedia on Tuesday they are working with city officials to resolve the matter and are looking forward to continuing to provide services to the residents of Port Arthur.