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Ambulance companies challenging Rural Metro’s hold on Maricopa County

PHOENIX — There could soon be more competition amongst ambulance services in Maricopa County.

Rural Metro Corporation and the companies it owns are the only private ambulance companies operating in the county — for now. At least two other private companies have begun seeking approval to begin operating.

Maricopa Ambulance CEO Bryan Gibson said its application, called a certificate of necessity, was recently accepted by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“In the state of Arizona you have to have a certificate of necessity and deemed by the state to be able to provide any type of ambulance in the State of Arizona, whether it be emergency or non-emergency,” Gibson said.

That application will be reviewed by health services. To be approved, Maricopa Ambulance must prove there is a need for additional ambulance companies.

Gibson said Rural Metro’s recent bankruptcy and the fact that one company is servicing millions of people is reason enough to allow some competition.

“We investigated services levels and what we believe we can provide, our service level would be better,” Gibson said.

He added that he believed creating competition could result in better service and lower costs.

The final decision as to whether Maricopa Ambulance can begin operating in Maricopa County will be left up to Will Humble, director of state health services.