Mountlake Terrace medical transport service will close

Falck Northwest, which provides non-emergency patient transport, will lay off 123 workers around Puget Sound.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — A non-emergency ambulance service with operations in Mountlake Terrace and Fife will close those two locations and lay off more than 100 workers.

Falck Northwest, which transports patients between medical facilites in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, will lay off 123 workers beginning Dec. 15, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filed Monday with the state’s Employment Security Department.

Falck employs about 60 workers at the Mountlake Terrace location.

Jeff Lucia, a spokesman for Falck Northwest, which provides services in Washington and Oregon, said the company will stop providing non-emergency ambulance services between hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and medical clinics in Washington.

“Faced with the reality of insurance reimbursements that do not cover our cost of providing service, together with current trends in inflation and a tight labor market, Falck Northwest made the difficult decision to cease our inter-facility ambulance operations in Washington state,” Lucia said in a statement.

Falck USA, based in Orange, California, oversees operations in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado and other locations.

Only Falck’s Washington operations are affected, as they provide only non-emergency inter-facility transports, Lucia said.

The company’s other U.S. locations provide 911 emergency tranportation.

“While 911 services provide sufficient revenue to cover the cost of operations, in the current economic situation, with dramatic increases in fuel prices and numerous other costs, interfacility transports do not generate enough reimbursement from Medicare, Washington Apple Health (Medicaid), and insurance carriers to sustain interfacility-only operations,” Lucia said.

Falck does not receive any public subsidies to fund its operations in Washington, Lucia said.

Falck said it was working closely with area hospitals and local ambulance providers to minimize any disruption to non-emergency ambulance transport services.

“We appreciate the dedication of our approximately 100 frontline personnel in Washington, and we are working to help find continued employment for them with local emergency medical service providers or transfers to other Falck operations,” Lucia said.

Falck’s majority owner is a health care research foundation based in Denmark. Falck Rescue Corps was founded in 1906 by Danish citizen Sophus Falck, who helped fight Denmark’s Great Christiansborg Castle fire in 1884.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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