By: Supervisor Lisa Bartlett
Last December, in my newsletter Volume 1 Issue 2, I explained that the Board of Supervisors voted to rescind the cancellation of the 9-1-1 Emergency Ambulance Transportation Services Request For Proposal (RFP) and directed the Health Care Agency (HCA) to regrade the existing RFP’s with a new panel.
The award of these 9-1-1 Emergency Ambulance Transportation contracts has been a controversial issue for over a year now, predating my election to the Board of Supervisors. On Tuesday, the Health Care Agency sought approval of the selection of recommended service providers and alternates, and execution of Agreements with the recommended service providers, for provision of 9-1-1 Emergency Ambulance Transportation Services for the period of June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2020.
My primary concern has always been the process by which we got to where we are today and the lack of local input in the development of the Exclusive Operating Areas (EOA). In 2013, the State Emergency Medical Services Authority directed HCA to develop EOA’s for nineteen contract cities, majority of which are in the 5th District.
As the 5th District Supervisor it is my job to protect the residents of my District, to whom I am elected to serve. I have strong concerns with regards to the impact decisions being made at the State level are having in Orange County. On Tuesday, the recommendation was to award four of the five EOA contracts to one ambulance provider, this provider also has contracts with a vast number of cities in the northern portion of the County. I strongly believe in the capability of this ambulance company and the recommended alternate, however I am troubled that we could possibly be setting the stage for a monopoly. The State EMSA has not appeared to be concerned with regards to a monopoly – however, I am.
I have always been an advocate for local control and strongly believe that we should not allow Sacramento to dictate how we select our ambulance service providers. For these reasons, my colleagues and I voted to delay the award of the 9-1-1 Emergency Ambulance Transportation contract for two weeks. Supervisor Michelle Steel and I volunteered to be part of a task force to work with our Orange County State Legislators, and the County to collaborate with EMSA and develop a solution that is in the best interest of public safety and the cities we represent.
This has been a long and arduous process I would like to thank the HCA staff for their time and effort spent on this procurement. Additionally, I am incredibly grateful for all of the South County Mayors, Mayor Pro Tems, Councilmembers, City Managers, and stakeholders who testified at the Board meeting, and to Senator Patricia Bates for being a strong South County advocate throughout this process.
To view the Staff Report please click here.