Ambulance Contract Awarded

By Ann Reilly Cole – Julian Journal
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ambulance-333x200Fire Chief Rick Marinelli has a new feather in his cap, as the Julian Cuyamca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) recently made a successful bid for the Advanced Life Support Ambulance Service contract from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

The new three-year contract, which includes a substantial increase in subsidies from the county, began on April 1 and has four one-year options to extend built into it, ensuring that the people of the Julian Service Area (JSA) will continue to receive the same quality of care they have come to expect.

The JSA runs roughly from the intersection of highways 76 and 79 to the north, south to near the Cuyamaca School Camp, east to S-2, and west to near Passing Lane in Ramona.

When the previous contract between the JCFPD and the county expired in September 2013, the county put out a Request For Proposals from potential ambulance service providers. Even though the JCFPD had held the ambulance contract for the last 10 years, to be considered for the new contract they were required to respond to the county’s RFP with a new proposal.

The JCFPD spent two solid weeks creating their proposal without knowing whether there were competing bids being presented to the county. JCFPD secretary Shawna Simonds was invaluable in addressing the required standards outlined in the RFP to prepare the 150-page response that earned the contract for the district.

One of two offers presented to the county, the JCFPD proposal was chosen to represent the best value based on an evaluation of three equally weighted categories: fiscal and contractual requirements; experience, proposed organization, management and staffing; and program goals and outcomes, general and specific requirements for service and delivery, quality assurance plan, data collection and reporting requirements and automation.

Steve Schmidt, communications advisor for Dianne Jacob, acknowledged that the county would like to bring as many rural districts under the umbrella of the San Diego County Fire Authority as possible, but respects the community’s decision to remain independent and is committed to providing the best protection it can.

Marinelli agrees that Dianne Jacob wants what is best for the community and says that while the JCFPD has no plans to join the SDCFA, he communicates with them weekly, enjoys a good working rapport with them, and appreciates the help they provide.

Now that the contract has been secured, the department will hire one or two new paramedics to fill vacancies that arose while the future of the ambulance service was uncertain.

“I have no doubt that we will fill the positions with good people now that we have a contract,” said Marinelli. “We are dedicated to providing the best level of service with the money we have.”

Looking forward to projects on the horizon, Marinelli says the JCFPD will now work hard to get the new fire station built.