Upland Renegotiates Medical Transport Helicopter Franchise Contract

(December 28)   The city of Upland, which more than three years ago broke Mercy Air Ambulance’s monopoly on medical emergency helicopter transport in San Bernardino County by contracting with Reach Air to fly out of Cable Airport and service the southwestern portion of San Bernardino County, has renegotiated the service contract with that company.
According to city manager Stephen Dunn, the renegotiation will generate as much as $200,000 in additional revenue for the cash-strapped city.
To maintain the franchise, under the new terms of the contract, Reach will pay $1,437,600 each year, i.e., $119,800 per month. Reach does its own billing to customers and was previously paying the city $85,834 per month to provide three nurses and three medics to staff the helicopter. Reach covers the cost of providing the helicopter, maintaining it and paying the salaries of its pilots and mechanic.
Last year, after all of its $1,005,859 in costs were set against the $1,030,008  franchise fee, the city netted $24,149 in revenue.
In negotiating with Reach, Dunn and acting fire chief Dave Carrier were  able to boost the city’s projected take over the next several years.
The air ambulance is chartered through the city of Upland and is called upon to provide service throughout the local area, including Chino Hills, Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, San Antonio Heights, Mt. Baldy, Claremont, Pomona, Guasti and Los Serranos. It has averaged over the last 42 months about two service calls into Upland every month.

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