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County may get new ambulance

For the first time since 1972 El Dorado County could be getting a new ambulance service.

The county released the final version of its request for proposal Tuesday, except for one change which will officially be released by the middle of next week, said county public heath director Gail Erbe-Hamlin.

In the existing RFP, the company that won the contract would have exclusive transportation rights in emergency and non-emergency situations. In the new version, those exclusive rights will only pertain to emergency calls.



Because of this change and others, the due date for proposals and the start date for the new contract will be pushed back.

“The county has tried to be really flexible in this RFP and address everybody’s issues and concerns,” said Councilwoman Judy Brown, who is also on the CalTahoe EMS board.




The original start date of the contract was July 1, but will most likely be Sept. 1. Official announcements will be made by the middle of next week with the new change, Erbe-Hamlin said. The contract with Lake Tahoe Ambulance ends at the end of June but will most likely be extended, because of the delays.

Lake Tahoe Ambulance, which has provided service to the California side of the South Shore for 29 years will be competing against three other organizations for the contract: CalTahoe EMS, which is the City of South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Truckee Fire Department and Lake Valley Fire Department; Sierra Emergency Medical Services Alliance, which is based in Reno; and Rural/Metro, a nationally based company.

“We’re still moving forward and we feel this is a great opportunity to provide fire-based services like the rest of El Dorado County,” Brown said. “It is a regional approach which keeps costs down.”

If CalTahoe EMS is awarded the contract, ambulance service would be based within the fire departments. The fire-based service would include cross training of firefighting and medical personnel. South Lake Tahoe is the only town in the Tahoe Basin that does not have a fire-based ambulance service.

A seven-member panel, with representatives from the medical and fire-fighting fields and one from Heavenly Ski Resort will review the proposals. The panel will be given two weeks to evaluate the proposals before hearing a 90-minute presentation from each applicant. The panel will then take two days to tally the scores and select an ambulance provider, which will be awarded a five-year contract.

Side Bar:

Lake Tahoe Ambulance relocated its headquarters last week from Emerald Bay Road to 2605 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

The new facility has four automatic garage doors, which allows each ambulance a direct route out. The previous facility only had two garage doors.

The lease had run out on the previous location and after 25 years Lake Tahoe Ambulance Chief Executive Officer Chuck Staib decided it was time for a new location.

“It was a great opportunity, a better location and larger quarters,” Staib said. “It is good all the way around, and we think it is good for the community.”

Lake Tahoe Ambulance serves the California side of the South Shore from Stateline to Emerald Bay out to Strawberry and to the Kirkwood Mountain Resort.


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