The decision over who gets a multi-million dollar ambulance contract for all of Santa Clara County is getting a bit contentious. Some county supervisors and the City of San Jose have different opinions on who should be providing emergency services.

Ambulance services in Santa Clara County have been provided by American Medical Response for more than 50 years, but now their contract is up for bid, and another company – Rural/Metro Corp, has offered a very low bid.

”They only want to charge the public $35 a call instead of $90,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese.

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He had wanted to allow the county to enter into talks with Rural/Metro, but in a split vote the board delayed that decision. That pleased San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed who has concerns that Rural/Metro may not be financially viable.

”I applaud the board’s action to slow down a bit and do some extra due diligence because it’s very important to the people of San Jose and all of Santa Clara County that we have emergency service providers that we can count on,” said Reed.

But Cortese says he’s “appalled” that San Jose has influenced the bidding process. He says it may be a conflict of interest.

”That could, or should disqualify AMR, which is exactly the opposite of what San Jose wanted,” said Reed.

The five year, $375 million contract should be awarded in December.


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