Eva Knott 4:04 a.m., May 23
After losing millions of dollars, contract for ambulance services finally goes to bid
City Attorney clears City to issue "request for proposal" for ambulance services.
The contract between the City of San Diego and Rural/Metro Corporation, the emergency medical services provider for the City, is set to expire on June 13, 2013, putting to rest years of legal and financial wrangling and allegations of wrongdoing.
In April of last year, as reported in an October 2011 article in the U-T San Diego, a competing EMS provider discovered that while transporting patients to hospitals, Rural/Metro was allegedly taking the City to the cleaners, overcharging nearly $12 million dollars in the span of ten years.
The Reader has also covered the troubled partnership between the ambulance company and the City, including a series of confidential emails and campaign donations made by Rural/Metro to causes favored by former Mayor Jerry Sanders, such as the managed competition program, and the strong-mayor initiative.
Despite the allegations, the City continues to use Rural/Metro as it's emergency services provider.
But that will change. In a December 21 opinion, the City Attorney's Office announced that the partnership may finally be put to rest once. The City Attorney cleared the City to put the services out to bid thus allowing other companies to compete for the contract.
Of course, the process wasn't without some delays. City officials completed the "request for proposal" nearly two years ago but have waited to submit it while looking for savings as part of the Medi-Cal program. But now, as the deadline looms, the City has abandoned those potential savings and issued the old proposal.
"This new [request for proposal] poses a challenge to the City because it will require new State and County approvals," reads the recent City Attorney's opinion. "These changes will significantly delay the [request for proposal] publication date."
According to the legal opinion, the City may continue to look into issuing a new bid, one that includes the Medi-cal savings.