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September 3, 2010 > Review of ambulance proposals

Review of ambulance proposals

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson

On August 24, 2010, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors authorized the County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith to move forward in the process to select the company to become the exclusive provider of 911 paramedic response and emergency ambulance services, when the current contract ends in July 2011. This action is a step in a comprehensive process that began last year.

State regulations require counties such as Santa Clara County, which operate Exclusive Operating Areas for these services, to periodically issue a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP), for non-grandfathered ambulance providers. Within the county, the only grandfathered services are those provided by the Palo Alto Fire Department, which has been providing continuous service since at least 1981. The County's last competitive RFP was conducted in 2000.

The current RFP process began in May 2009, with formal and informal meetings with various stakeholders, including the cities, fire chiefs, hospitals and a variety of personnel in the emergency medical field. A consultant was retained to manage the process, draft RFP documents and review and validate the financial status of proposers. A formal RFP was issued and submissions were evaluated.

"I want to set the record straight on some of the issues raised in the news about this process. We have conducted a thorough competitive process, consistent with State regulations," said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith.

"While this process is confidential, both formal and informal meetings were held with stakeholders and an evaluation committee was selected, Smith continued. "The summary of the scoring conducted by the evaluation committee following the year-long process has been submitted. Now we begin the public part of the process."

Smith asked the Board to authorize the release of both proposals for public review and to authorize the County Executive to meet with the two proposers to review the scoring and bid proposals. The Board of Supervisors authorized the release of the proposals for public review and, calling for complete transparency, directed staff to inquire and determine whether any financial arrangement exists between either of the proposers and San Jose or any of the other cities in the county and to determine the financial sustainability of the proposals and the proposing companies.

The Board's action stopped short of authorizing staff to enter into negotiations, pending a report on these areas of interest. Once these questions have been addressed, it is anticipated negotiations will be authorized with a timeline to ensure the successful service provider is fully prepared when the current contract ends.

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