By: Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District
Earlier this year, before I was elected to serve as the 5th District Supervisor, the California State Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) determined that the Orange County Emergency Medical Services (OCEMS), a subdivision of the County’s Health Care Agency, is now required to conduct the ambulance request for proposals (RFP) process for nineteen contract cities contracts. Previously, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) handled the procurement process.
In March, the Board directed OCEMS to publish a draft RFP for public review, comment. OCEMS provided an online forum for the public to provide comments on the published RFP. Following the public review in April, the Board was provided a final opportunity to weigh in on the content of the RFP.
One of the most substantial changes is the RFP has reduced the previous 19 ambulance operating areas into five exclusive operating areas (EOAS) and the manner in which prospective bidders will be chosen. While this change is critical, my primary concern is the nineteen cities which are primarily in the 5th District.
Since April, the RFP process has progressed and HCA released the RFP on May 19, 2014. Notices of Intent to Award and of Non-Selection for the RFP were released to all bidders, EMSA, on October 9, 2014. Thereafter, three bidders submitted seven protests to the Notices of Intent to Award based upon the individual proposals in some of the five Exclusive Operating Areas. In addition to bid protests, a number of city managers submitted letters of concern related to the RFP scoring process. Accordingly, HCA and its counsel reviewed the RFP process and made the determination to cancel the RFP.
On Tuesday, during my first Regular Board of Supervisors meeting, my colleagues and I voted to rescind the cancellation of the RFP and specifically outlined criteria to regrade the current RFP’s submitted by bidders.
Over the last several months, I have paid attention to this issue closely and believe that in order to maintain the County’s safety and provide for a fair, and transparent competitive procurement process, the rescission of the cancellation and the opportunity for the current RFPs to be regraded under a well-balanced and unbiased evaluation panel is imperative.