Falck Northwest ending its operations in Washington; 123 jobs cut

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A recent screenshot from the Falck Northwest website. Falck is closing its operations in Washington this year.

Falck United States/ North West Falck

A local emergency medical services company has filed closure plans for its two Washington state offices with the state Department of Employment Security.

According to the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, the layoffs from Falck Northwest Corp. begin on December 15, affecting 123 workers.

Falck Northwest’s Washington offices are located in Mountlake Terrace and Fife.

A Falck USA media representative blamed economic trends for the shutdown in a statement emailed to The News Tribune in response to questions.

“Faced with the reality of insurance reimbursements that do not cover our costs of providing services, as well as current inflation trends and a tight labor market, Falck Northwest has made the difficult decision to cease our operations. inter-facility ambulance service in Washington State,” wrote Jeff Lucia. , Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications.

Lucia noted that the Washington offices “are Falck’s only nationwide operation that only does inter-facility transportation. All of Falck’s other U.S. operations provide 911 emergency service.”

He added: “While 911 services provide sufficient revenue to cover the cost of operations, in the current economic situation, with dramatic increases in fuel prices and many other costs, IFT transportation is not generating enough reimbursement. from Medicare, Washington Apple Health (Medicaid), and insurance companies to support IFT operations only.

According to Lucia, Falck is working closely with area hospitals and local paramedics “to minimize any disruption to non-emergency ambulance transport services.”

“We appreciate the dedication of our more than 100 frontline employees in Washington, and we are working hard to help them find continued employment with local EMS providers or transfers to other Falck operations,” he said. added.

He noted, “Like the broader healthcare industry and countless other EMS providers serving communities across the United States, Falck has been impacted by the nationwide shortage of personnel such as paramedics and paramedics. paramedics. This shortage affects both public and contract EMS providers. »

The company’s most recent posting, Sept. 14, on GlassDoor, a site where employees can post anonymous reviews, noted the company’s closure of public operations. Some reviewers cited low salaries and staff shortages.

The state received the company’s notification on September 16.

Falck Northwest began offering medical transportation services in the Puget Sound area in 2012, according to its website. Services include basic and advanced life support, critical care transport and alternate transport for hospitals, clinics and extended care facilities, “requiring non-emergency inter-facility transport,” the company noted.

The company operated in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

In 2015, Falck Northwest expanded to include Salem, Oregon, supporting the Salem Fire Department and the Salem area, according to the website.

Falck operates in 30 countries and has more than 30,000 employees headquartered in Denmark, according to its LinkedIn profile.

“Unlike many ambulance services in the United States that are backed by private equity firms, Falck’s majority owner is a Denmark-based healthcare research foundation,” Lucia wrote.

This is the second time in less than a week that the company has made headlines in the western United States.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported on September 17 that Falck’s operations there faced hefty fines due to poor response times. The company said it would implement mandatory overtime later this month due to a shortage of paramedics and would revamp its work at the US-Mexico border.

Debbie Cockrell has worked for The News Tribune since 2009. She reports on business and development, local and regional issues.

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