Ventura County Supervisors Vote To Further Consider Ambulance Contracts
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 4-1 to extend by 30 days consideration of whether the county should renegotiate current contracts with private ambulance providers or open the process to competitive bidding, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The current ambulance provider contracts with American Medical Response, Gold Coast Ambulance and Lifeline Medical Transport, will expire in 2006. "It's valuable to get more information and get stakeholders at the table for further discussion," Supervisor Judy Mikels said, adding, "What is it that we think we're not getting?" Barry Fisher, an administrator with Ventura County Health Care Agency, recommended opening up the contracts for competitive bidding to "assure the best service," the Daily News reports. "This is the opportune time to look at the system and pick it apart. It allows us to enhance the current systems in place," Fisher said. Several supervisors said that they want to see ambulance response times reduced. The competitive bidding process would reduce the current seven ambulance zones to three and balance lower-call-volume, lower-reimbursements areas with higher-call-volume, higher-reimbursement areas "to better serve sparsely populated areas," the Daily News reports. However, some supervisors raised concerns over the $80,000 necessary to hire a consultant to generate a proposal for competitive bids. According to the Daily News, several city officials from Santa Paula and Ventura have criticized the county for not allowing more public comment into the ambulance provider contract debate. A status report on EMS providers will be presented to the board April 27 (Valencia, Los Angeles Daily News, 3/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.