County Seeks More Financial Control of Rural/Metro

Santa Clara County wants greater financial control of its embattled EMT service provider, Rural/Metro.

In a proposal coming before the Board of Supervisors this week, county officials ask for direct access to Rural/Metro's audited financial information to get a better sense of the company's health as it emerges from bankruptcy.

Rural/Metro snagged its contract with the county by coming in with the lowest bid. In 2011, supervisors George Shirakawa Jr., Dave Cortese and Mike Wasserman approved the initial five-year contract in a 3-2 vote (Liz Kniss and Ken Yeager opposed).

The years since have been a downward spiral. Drivers routinely failed to respond to emergency calls in time—especially in Sunnyvale—resulting in a breach of contract with the county. Late fees racked up. Paramedics were fired for failing to renew their CPR certification. Then, the company revealed to the county that it was operating at a deficit because of footing the bill for a larger-than-expected number of Medi-Cal patients.

Meanwhile, the FBI's taken an interest in the company's political activities.

Supervisors are expected to decide this month whether to continue working with the company—at least through the end of its contract in 2016. Late last year, when presented with all the troubling news about Rural/Metro's financial condition, the supervisors opted to continue the contract, arguing that it could cost the county more to find a new provider.

More from Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors agenda for Sept. 9, 2014:

  • Kaiser gave $100,000 to the county to help with a campaign to convince the public to choose healthier, less sugary drinks.
  • A program that helps homeless people with HIV/AIDS may get $100,000 from the county.

WHAT: Board of Supervisors meets
WHEN: 9am Tuesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Clerk of the Board, 408.299.5001

One Comment

  1. Well, get it right, we did renew our CPR certification. It’s how the certification was obtain was questioned.

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