American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Laidlaw To Divest EmCare and AMR

According to a September 13,1999 press release, Laidlaw Inc. has announced plans to divest its U.S. healthcare operations-including EmCare (the largest EM contract management group in the country) and American Medical Response, or AMR (the largest ambulance services in the U.S.)-in order to focus on its bus passenger transportation businesses. The company also plans to seek a buyer for its 44% common equity interest in Safety-Kleen, and industrial services provider.

AMR has an estimated fiscal 1999 revenue of $1 billion. EmCare's is estimated at $475 million. Sales of the healthcare businesses and the interest in Safety-Kleen are expected to take place over the next six to twelve months and realize net proceeds in excess of $2 billion.

Editor's Note: AAEM sees this action as a further indication of the unstable nature of the business of EM. AAEM members working for EmCare should address these events at their own institution and investigate whether this move will create an opportunity to seek independence and move into a democratic group practice model, the model favored by AAEM. AAEM has contract guidelines available and can offer assistance and advice to physicians interested in these areas. EMS physicians should also take note of the implications of Laidlaw's moving away from the large scale ambulance operations of AMR.