May 28, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Ameri-Care to Replace Gerber Ambulance Services in Santa Monica:

Santa Monica has a new emergency ambulance service provider, as the city council last week approved a new three-year contract for Carson-based Ameri-Care Ambulance and in doing so ended a seven-year relationship with Torrance-based Gerber Ambulance Service.

Ameri-Care will begin its contractual term later this month; the emergency ambulance provider outbid seven other companies to be awarded its contact with the city.

Yet there was some wonderment as to why the City switched emergency ambulance services in favor of Ameri-Care. A pair of residents who spoke publicly to the council at its July 26 meeting questioned whether Ameri-Care was awarded the contract because it planned to purchase property in Santa Monica. According to the staff report, Ameri-Care was considered the best bidder because it was the only one to offer no-cost billing services to the city and was “committed to the purchase of property in Santa Monica on which to locate an ambulance station.”

Local activist Jerry Rubin was concerned about why the purchase of property within the city was used as a criteria for selection. “I don’t understand why that was in the staff report about them buying property. Why is that a criteria, one way or another, for changing, obviously, what’s been a good ambulance service the past seven years?” Rubin rhetorically asked.

Just the same, resident Ellen Hannon wondered whether the change in emergency ambulance services was indeed motivated by Ameri-Care’s willingness to purchase property in Santa Monica. “I really don’t like seeing people just thrown out because someone is willing to buy property, probably at an inflated price,” she said.

Even more, speakers from two ambulance companies questioned the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Schaefer Ambulance Service owner Jim McNeil pointed out his company has operated within Santa Monica for nearly 60 years. He was curious about how Ameri-Care was viewed as an ideal choice even though the company appeared to be weak in meeting one of the RFP’s essential criteria.

“In the RFP, it had a statement in there that says the provider must have 911 experience and (be) a primary provider of 911 experience. Ameri-Care (is not listed by the State) as being a primary 911 provider in the county of Los Angeles,” McNeil said, adding his company was not afforded a site visit.

Robert Gerber, of Gerber Ambulance Service, said there was no reason to solicit RFPs and switch providers – unlike in 2004, when his company was awarded its contract to provide services to the City. “The provider back then (in 2004) was not providing the needs of the city, not only in their service, but in the idea of collecting financial gains of revenue for the City of Santa Monica Fire Department in the service that they provide,” Gerber said. “(Since 2004), we have responded to more 67,000 calls. Out of the 67,000, we’ve transported 44,000 over the seven years with no failure. We’ve never had to use a back-up provider. We’ve been the primary provider and have never failed in our duties.” Gerber added his company had a compassionate billing practice, where it assisted certain patients in relieving more than $100,000 in debt for medical bills.

Still, the four council members present at the July 26 meeting unanimously approved the three-year contract for Ameri-Care to provide emergency ambulance and billing services. City Manager Rod Gould addressed the questions raised about Ameri-Care’s plans to purchase property in the city, saying it is part of the company’s “business plan.”

“Ameri-Care does comply with the requirements set forth in the RFP and has conferred with the City attorney’s office,” Gould said. “It was not a requirement of the RFP that any of the providers purchase property in the City of Santa Monica. That just happens to be the business plan of Ameri-Care.”

Santa Monica Fire Chief Scott Ferguson said bids were ultimately narrowed down to three companies, including Ameri-Care. Site visits were made, and the City also met with billing agents, considered the business models, and checked out accounting procedures.

“We took an auditor with us to each of the sites to review their business plan, I did a site visit after they were tentatively selected, interviewed the president of the company and their staff,” Ferguson explained of the selection process and the hurdles Ameri-Care had to jump over to earn the City contract.

“The level of professionalism, the attention to detail, and their accounting procedures were exceptional,” Ferguson said of Ameri-Care. “I emphasize the importance of personnel management. I was extremely impressed with their approach. After reviewing all 58 points of the criteria within the RFP, we felt like Ameri-Care was better positioned to provide the level of service that we want.”

According to the staff report, the ambulance providers submitted bids that included billing services to be provided at a cost to the City ranging from zero to 20 percent of net collections. Further, the fee assessed for ambulance services would be “based on a share of the fee received from the patient rather than a direct payment from the City.”

Other factors reportedly favoring Ameri-Care’s bid included its location in Carson, which staff said “would allow for additional ambulances to respon(d) to the City in a timely manner, should the need arise.”

Paramedic Coordinator and Capt. Mark Bridges said Ameri-Care’s size and experience was also a factor. “The company is large, has experience with 911 dispatch systems, has redundant systems for operations and dispatch, employs real-time vehicle location services, and would provide quarterly utilization reports,” Bridges said. “In addition, in-house mechanics would address major vehicle repairs and mobile mechanics would be on hand for minor repairs. Ameri-Care would participate in joint fire and ambulance crew training and partner with Santa Monica to provide CERT and CPR training to the community.”

In all, the City solicited 16 licensed ambulance companies within Los Angeles County to submit a request for proposal. The proposals were considered by a committee of six people, including members from the Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) and the City’s Finance Department.

Of the eight companies that participated in the bidding process, five of them submitted proposals to provide ambulance and billing services; the remaining three submitted proposals to only manage billing services.

According to Bridges, the SMFD has a fleet of six paramedic engine companies plus another four ambulances used during special events or related activities. He also added that fees collected by Ameri-Care via SMFD would generate more than $1.2 million in revenue to the City for fiscal year 2011-2012 and almost $1.3 million for fiscal year 2012-2013.

in News
Related Posts

Seller of Bel Air Mansion Furious After Property Flops at Auction

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

Mansion on Sarbonne Road in Bel Air fails to meet $50 million reserve price By Sam Catanzaro The seller of...

Environmental Review Begins for West Los Angeles Civic Center Redevelopment

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

The West LA Commons set to bring 926 units of housing and 36,569 square feet of retail to Santa Monica...

Is Santa Monica’s Most Expensive Property Still a Bargain?

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

22,640 square-foot property on market for $69 million By Dolores Quintana The most expensive property in Santa Monica has been...

Must-Watch ‘Disruptive’ Appliance Experience Store Opens in West Los Angeles, Hosts Grand Opening in June

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

Howard’s West Los Angeles Experience Center opening at 900 La Brea Boulevard  By Susan Payne West Los Angeles is home...

Marina Del Rey Family Searches for Missing 29-Year-Old Son With Autism

May 27, 2022

May 27, 2022

J​​eremy Hansbrough missigns cine May 16 By Sam Catanzaro A Marina del Rey family is searching for their 29-year-old son...

Santa Monica Pier to Feature High-Flying Waving American Flag on  Ferris Wheel During Memorial Day Weekend

May 26, 2022

May 26, 2022

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier’s Ferris wheel will feature a high-flying 130-feet tall, animated waving American flag throughout...

Message From Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati

May 26, 2022

May 26, 2022

Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Community Members, Sadly, we have learned of another horrific school shooting, this time in the...

Three Juveniles in Hosptial Following Overdose in Santa Monica

May 26, 2022

May 26, 2022

Two females in critical but stable condition, third victim “alert and recovering” By Sam Catanzaro Three juveniles suffered an overdose...

John Adams Middle School Student Selected to Perform at Carnegie Hall

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

JAMS Student Grayson Fitzgerald named junior finalist for the 2022 middle school honors performance series at Carnegie Hall By Staff...

SMC Student Film “The War Within” Accepted into 2022 American Pavilion at Cannes

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Three Santa Monica College Films Will Screen at In-Person Festival, including 2021 Best Student Film Winner “Broken Layers” and 2020’s...

Santa Monica City Council Looks to Shorten Meetings

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Council to consider changes at Tuesday meeting By Dolores Quintana Santa Monica lawmakers are considering taking steps to shorten City...

Landmark Theater Official Closes on Pico

May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

Pico Boulevard location closes Sunday By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard in Westwood has officially closed.  The...

Road Closures Expected During Demolition Of Parking Structure Three: Santa Monica Beat – May 23rd, 2022

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Free Donuts At Randy’s Donuts For National Doughnut Day* Road Closures Expected...

Los Angeles Metro Sees 15.9 Percent Increase in Median Rent

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Median rent of $2,258, according to recent report By Dolores Quintana The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issues of housing...

New Renderings for Frank Gehry Hotel Development in Santa Monica

May 20, 2022

May 20, 2022

Project would include hotel, apartments, retail and a museum By Dolores Quintana Slowly but surely, plans for a  Frank Gehry-designed...