Santa Clara County May Revoke Ambulance Contract Over Slowness

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The company that provides ambulances services for 14 Santa Clara County cities and its unincorporated areas has been put on notice: the county considers it to be in violation of its contract, and is rethinking the arrangement.

Rural Metro entered into a 5-year contract with Santa Clara County in July 2011. Among the provisions in the contract: Rural Metro agreed to maintain a response time of less than 12 minutes to at least 90% of 911 calls.

Rural Metro receives approximately 6,500 such calls each month.

The company maintains that the overwhelming majority of calls are answered in a timely fashion, but the company has paid more than $4.7 in fines for contract violations. The county puts those funds in a special trust account, managed by the county, and used for staff training and public service announcements, among other things.

In January 2013, the county reportedly put Rural Metro on formal notice that it was repeatedly violating its contract. The company responded with a “system enhancement plan” and claims to have been in total compliance with its contract since that time.

But, according to a published report, County Executive Jeff Smith went on record just last week warning that the county would consider terminating the agreement with Rural Metro if there are several more contract violations.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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