Union Urges Ambulance Service Bid in Calif.

Riverside County supervisors have been mulling whether to renew their longstanding contract with AMR



RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- The union representing about 1,000 CAL Fire/Riverside County firefighters is the latest to suggest the county should seek competitive bids for ambulance services.

For the past six months Riverside County supervisors have been mulling whether to renew their longstanding contract with American Medical Response, the exclusive provider of ambulance service in most of the county. AMR has operated in Riverside County for more than 30 years. Its county contract, which is worth an estimated $95 million and has never been competitively bid, is up for a three-year renewal.

In an undated letter to Riverside County supervisors, CDF Firefighters Local 2881 Riverside chapter director Ray Martinez urged a competitive bidding process, noting the county's population growth in the last three decades and suggesting a need to review the way emergency medical services are run. Martinez said Monday that he had sent the letter to Supervisor Marion Ashley and planned to send it to the other four supervisors.

"Through a competitive bidding process, the county will be able to modernize its existing response model, resulting in faster response time and better patient care," the letter said. "Furthermore, we believe that healthy competition will serve to improve service delivery and, more importantly, patient outcomes."

Martinez stressed that his members work closely with AMR and he has no complaints with the company.

"It just makes things transparent and it only makes for good business," he said. "I think with the rapid growth of Riverside County it's probably time for a review."

Ashley said Monday afternoon he had not seen Martinez's letter.

"There's a lot of pro and con on this. I'm going to listen to all sides," Ashley said. "I'm not going to make my decision before we even discuss it in public."

Riverside County Emergency Medical Services Agency spokesman Jose Arballo said agency officials are still working to come up with a recommendation for supervisors and no date is scheduled to discuss the contract.

Thomas McEntee, AMR's general manager for Riverside County, did not return a message seeking comment Monday. In a written response, company spokesman Jason Sorrick said, "AMR is 100 percent compliant under our contract, and we are certainly open to any changes the county sees as necessary to improve patient outcomes."

As part of the company's proposed contract extension, Sorrick wrote, AMR has pledged to improve communications by developing a two-way EMS radio system and to update medical equipment on its ambulances. And the company has backed a dispatch system that could better prioritize calls.

Several city leaders and officials from other agencies, including Murrieta and Moreno Valley and the Riverside County Fire Chiefs Association, also have backed a competitive bid process.

Murrieta City Councilman Alan Long said bidding the contract would allow the county to include improved services such as faster response times in the bid criteria.

"The competition will bring out the best service for the best price," Long said.

Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, AMR

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS


Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

NAEMT: Transforming EMS

A look inside at the Mobile Healthcare Paramedic system.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Austin-Travis County Community Health Paramedic Program

Overview of program provides operation and referral details.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Flight Paramedic’s Perfect Weekend

Carilion Lifeguard Flight Paramedic shares what would make his perfect weekend.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Honolulu EMS Pilot Program

New program tests change in shift schedule for EMTs and Paramedics.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >

More Product Videos >