AMR’s Long-Running Contract at Risk of Ending in Victorville, and all San Bernardino County

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) – The County of San Bernardino is considering awarding the county’s ambulance transport contract to a new provider, potentially ending American Medical Response’s (AMR) longstanding relationship with the county.

As early as next week, it’s believed that the County Board of Supervisors will actually consider and possibly take action involving an award of contract for ambulance services for the entire county and all of the exclusive operating areas that fall under it’s authority.

The decision, expected to be made at the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting on December 5, 2023, comes after the county’s recent deviation from its historical practice of non-competitive contracting.

In December 2022, the county published a Request for Proposals (RFP) for ambulance transportation services, marking a shift towards an open bidding process.

AMR and ConFire Alliance were the only two providers to submit proposals in response to the RFP. Following an evaluation process, the county announced that both proposals had received substantially equivalent scores.

As a result, contract negotiations were initiated with both AMR and ConFire. However, according to the evaluation committee’s recommendation stated in the RFP, AMR received the highest score.

Notwithstanding the favorable evaluation, the county expressed its intention to present draft contracts from both AMR and ConFire to the Board of Supervisors for consideration.

The decision to choose another provider instead of the one with the highest score has caused alarm among AMR’s legal council. They firmly contend that such action could potentially breach state and/or federal laws, leaving the county susceptible to legal repercussions.

“AMR received the highest score in the San Bernardino County contract bid for ambulance services. Specifically, the RFP review committee determined that AMR’s proposed system design and system improvements were superior to ConFire’s proposal,” Jason Sorrick, AMR Spokesman, told VVNG.

“ConFire’s system design proposed subcontracting the entire ambulance contract out to a non-union ambulance provider that does not currently operate a 911 system in California,” explained Sorrick. “The review committee did not believe this system design met the needs of the community, patients, or the workforce, and therefore selected AMR as the winning bidder,” Sorrick said, adding, “Under California law, and the County’s own requirements, the winning bidder must be awarded the contract.”

AMR has been the sole provider of Advanced Life Support (ALS) emergency services in the region for over 40 years, serving the County of San Bernardino and its citizens since the late 1970s.

Throughout this time, AMR has served as a grandfathered ambulance transport provider under contract with the county, which has never utilized a competitive process for ambulance services until now.

As the award decision approaches, the City of Victorville has voiced its support for ConFire Alliance, an organization formed as a derivative of ConFire. City officials believe that ConFire’s proposal offers advanced solutions to address bed delays, improve response times, and enhance overall EMS services across the county.

In a November meeting, the City of Victorville Council has unanimously approved Mayor Debra Jones and Mayor Pro Tem Liz Becerra, also a board member to ConFire, to issue Position Statements in favor of awarding the County’s Ambulance Contract to ConFire Alliance.

The City Council’s endorsement signifies its official stance in support of granting the County’s Ambulance Contract to ConFire Alliance. Furthermore, it authorizes the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem to advocate for this position at the upcoming County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Keith Metzler, the Victorville City Manager, emphasized the significance of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors’ decision regarding the contract for ambulance services. Metzler explained that the board’s decision will impact the entire county.

“Additionally, the ConFire Alliance is a public-private partnership that will bring in a new First Responder revenue stream that AMR is statutorily unable to access,” city officials said.

Although the outcome remains uncertain, if the award goes to ConFire, it would mark the end of AMR’s four-decade-long dominance in providing ambulance services to the Victor Valley area.

Residents eagerly await the upcoming County Board of Supervisors meeting where the decision is expected be announced.


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