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Imagine a medical emergency that requires an ambulance. Fast forward a month or so and imagine getting a bill from the Rural-Metro for $10,000 give or take with a notice declaring that the company, unfortunately, doesn’t contract with your private medical insurance carrier. You’re on the hook for the bill, maybe you’ve been unable to work and then the aggressive calls from the collection agency start.
For this idiotic scenario you can thank your county Board of Supervisors who granted Rural-Metro a monopoly three years ago  with the goal being to save the county cash. Never mind that they pulled the plug on county residents.
It was a 3-2 vote which awarded Rural-Metro the monopoly and District 1 representative Mike Wasserman voter in favor of Rural Metro.
Yes, the economic times were bleak for the county and Rural-Metro’s 5-year contract bid came in far lower than competitor and longtime provider American Medical Response, but the supervisors should have known that county residents would be stuck with huge ambulance bills because Rural-Metro didn’t contract with private insurance companies. If they didn’t know, they sure should have.
Now, the mess falls into Supervisor Wasserman’s lap, who was peppered with questions at a recent joint meeting of the Leadership Gilroy and Leadership Morgan Hill classes.
The solution is to make sure that whichever company gets the exclusive rights to serve Santa Clara County residents, the service includes contracts with at least the top 10 private insurance companies in the county.
There are two years left on the contract with Rural-Metro which means the time is now to start negotiations.
This is an aspect of the contract that doesn’t make sense for a county that prides itself on top-notch medical services for its residents. People have insurance precisely to pay for medical emergencies and protect against financial catastrophes.
If Rural-Metro can’t work it out with insurance companies, then it’s time to severe the contract and start over again.

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