The Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services Agency has announced the release of the first Request for Proposal for the exclusive ambulance service contract in the county.
At the direction of the Board of Supervisors, this will be the first time the county ambulance contract will go to a public procurement in its 50 plus-year history.
The bid process is expected to conclude with an award in November. The new contract will start March 1, 2024.
The role of the ambulance contractor is to provide advanced emergency medical care and transport to all residents and visitors within the county.
According to a news release, the RFP process involved feedback from more than 60 EMS stakeholders and partners, which was collected during the 2018 EMS System Review. The emergency medical services agency also solicited feedback from the public and local providers in September 2021 and released a draft proposal in November 2021 for potential bidders to provide comments.
The agency worked with consultants from Fitch & Associates to develop a Request for Proposal, designed to allow for both public and private bidders and a focus on clinical performance.
The RFP focuses on patient experience, population health and reducing costs, according to the news release from the county Public Health Department. The department said faster response times aren’t generally associated with better patient care.
“In the majority of EMS responses, the effectiveness of pre-hospital care is based on the quality of the care provided rather than the speed with which that care arrived,” said Dr. Daniel Shepherd, the emergency medical services agency’s medical director.
For more information, visit countyofsb.org/412/emergency-medical-services.
— Dave Mason