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State wants to get rid of county's EMS monopoly

Hearing underway to decide county's EMS future
Posted: 10:08 AM, Mar 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-14 01:06:52Z

A public hearing began Tuesday inside the Kern Public Health Department involving the Kern County Emergency Medical Services Division and the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA).

Kern County is a single provider county because of Hall Ambulance's monopoly over Liberty Ambulance and Delano Ambulance. 

EMSA says counties can designate single operating areas one of two ways: first, if there is a bidding process for a single operator; second, if that EMS provider has been providing the same services, uninterrupted, since January 1, 1981. 

Hall Ambulance has been the single provider, but EMSA feels there has been an interruption.

"We feel that that there has been an interruption in service and that the local EMS agency should be putting out a competitive bidding process," said Jennifer Lim, Deputy Director of EMSA.

EMSA also says Kern County EMS has submitted two different annual plans in 2012 and 2015 that EMSA denied.

Now, the state and the county will be making arguments about whether more companies should be allowed to operate in the county. 

The hearing is expected to wrap up Thursday and the judge will have 30 days to make a decision. That decision is then taken to the EMS Commission, which is a state-wide board, to either uphold the denial or let the plans be implemented.