Pioneering Partnership Brings Fire District and Private Company Together in Bid for Ambulance Contract

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ORIGINAL REPORTING
San Ramon Valley Fire responds to a traffic collision in a coordinated effort, managing both ambulance and fire/rescue resources.  (Photo: SRVFPD)

San Ramon Valley Fire responds to a traffic collision in a coordinated effort, managing both ambulance and fire/rescue resources. (Photo: SRVFPD)

In a recent proposal about to be inked, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (ConFire) and private ambulance service provider American Medical Response (AMR) are working to jointly submit a bid for Contra Costa County’s upcoming ambulance service contract.  If the proposal is accepted by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and the model is successful, the type of partnership could be replicated throughout the state.

The County’s current contract with AMR alone will expire at the end of the year.  A recent report by an independent consultant identified weaknesses in the existing emergency medical response model.  For example, when 9-1-1 is called regarding a medical emergency, both ConFire and AMR are notified.  With separate communications and dispatching systems, ConFire nor AMR knows when the other will arrive with what potential resources.

Under the draft proposal, ConFire would hold the multi-year contract with the county for ambulance service.  ConFire would sub-contract ambulance services with AMR and continue to provide paramedic and fire protection service.  Ambulances and ambulance personnel uniforms would likely be co-branded with both ConFire and AMR insignia.  Dispatchers with AMR currently based in Sacramento would likely be integrated into ConFire’s central dispatch center in Pleasant Hill.

Representatives from both organizations believe the partnership will improve service delivery for the public, enhance efficiency and customer service, and allow ConFire to better control fire and medical response.  The Moraga-Orinda Fire District and San Ramon Valley Fire Districts already provide ambulance service for their communities.  The new ambulance service contract would cover the rest of Contra Costa County.

In July, the Board of Supervisors is expected to select an ambulance service provider for a five-year contract with a potential five-year renewal.

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