Santa Clara Threatens Ambulance Termination

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Growing pains or a growing problem for Santa Clara County? The city's ambulance provider, Rural Metro, has been late in responding to calls -- mistakes that cost the company $4.7 million in fines. But did missing those targets also cost the patients who called for help? NBC Bay Area's Kris Sanchez reports on how the company says it is fixing the problem.

    Santa Clara County officials are threatening to terminate the contract of an ambulance company that they say has repeatedly responded too slowly to emergencies.
     
    County Executive Jeff Smith says Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Rural Metro has been put on notice about possible termination.

      A company official tells the San Jose Mercury News it failed to meet required response times of less than 12 minutes only a few times in October and December. Spokesman Michael Simonsen says Rural Metro has since submitted a system enhancement plan and doesn't plan to ever be out of compliance again.
     
    Smith says no patients were put at risk, but weaknesses in the system could have been exacerbated by a disaster.
     
    Rural Metro has paid more than $4.7 million in fines for alleged violations, including failing to have three ambulances ready to deploy.