Update: County chooses new ambulance provider over AMR

Young girl involved in hit-and-run accident in Gilroy

In a move to save Santa Clara County money, the board of
supervisors voted 3-2 to begin negotiations with Rural/Metro
ambulance service and simultaneously drop their contract with
American Medical Response. The savings would be more than 12
percent for the five-year contract that is worth about $375
million.
In a move to save Santa Clara County money, the board of supervisors voted 3-2 to begin negotiations with Rural/Metro ambulance service and simultaneously drop their contract with American Medical Response. The savings would be more than 12 percent for the five-year contract that is worth about $375 million.

Supervisor Liz Kniss of District 5 and Supervisor Ken Yeager of District 4 voted against the proposal.

AMR has been the county’s ambulance provider since 1979, though has provided services in some form for more than 70 years in Santa Clara County. A 10-year contract with AMR contract was last renewed with in 2001. It will expire in December.

Rural/Metro, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has said that if it won the Santa Clara County contract, it would “likely hire many of the AMR employees,” to stay within the request of the county’s proposal.

District 1 Supervisor Don Gage, who cast the deciding vote to move forward with the Rural/Metro contract, said he felt the company can do an equitable job.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that Rural/Metro can do the job and provide the same quality of service to our constituents,” Gage said.

More than 40 speakers addressed the board Tuesday, with the majority speaking in support of AMR and to their quality of service over the years.

Rural/Metro is the second largest ambulance service provider in the nation, according to the Arizona Republic newspaper, which has also reported that in 2005 Rural/Metro’s own hometown of Scottsdale parted ways contractually after “a contentious debate about fire services.”

Among concerns, is the potential loss of jobs by AMR staff, which employs more than 450 full-time and part-time paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians.

California requires counties with an “exclusive operating area” for ambulance services, such as Santa Clara County, to look at competitive Request for Proposals about every 10 years. The credentials of Rural/Metro and AMR – the existing provider – were screened “to ensure that they met baseline criteria including financial viability and operational capacity to serve the population.” The company received the top rating by an independent eight-member RFP committee and was recommended to the board over AMR.

Leave your comments