Riverside County has a long-held contract with the emergency medical services company American Medical Response. While the group’s contract is up for renewal, many residents and officials are urging supervisors to open up a competitive bid process as opposed to merely renewing the contract. Murrieta city officials in particular turned up to a recent meeting to pressure the county into a competitive bid process for the local ambulance services. City officials argued that the competition would spark better care as well as potential cost savings. Murrieta Councilman Alan Long commented, “You have absolutely nothing to lose by putting it out to bid, but the residents have everything to gain. I plead with you: Don’t renew the status quo.” According to other local government officials, Riverside County’s system is 20 years behind other counties. Supervisor Bob Buster acknowledged there was room for improvement and that better coordination was needed. Buster stated:
“Right now we have a system that does not distinguish the real trauma calls from those that are less severe. We are glad to see our partners here, because it is going to take coordination. This system here has to work at its best when we have a major disaster such as an earthquake. We are going to begin talking about this today, talking about where we are."
There was no vote taken at the workshop and supervisors did express some reservations; however, Supervisor Jeff Stone stated “"I don’t have any heartburn from putting this out to bid...to see what we can get.” AMR pointed to its long commitment to the county and noted it has strived to improve over the years. Murrieta officials contend those improvements aren’t apparent in their neck of the woods. Discussion is expected to continue about the competitive bid process.