Monday afternoon the Knox County Commission finalized its decision on who will take care of you in an emergency. After months of bidding, debating, and some protesting over the lucrative ambulance contract, commissioners proceeded with a new five-year deal with Rural/Metro.
The contentious nature of the contract decision was not evident at Monday's commission meeting. The issue was placed on the consent-agenda and was automatically approved without any discussion.
Several employees of Rural/Metro attended the meeting to see the ambulance contract extended another five years.
"The process is very stressful, very time-consuming," said Rob Webb, division general manager for Rural/Metro in Knox County. "I mean we spent hundreds of hours preparing for the proposal."
Rural metro fought off competing bids from other healthcare heavyweights. Specifically, American Medical Response (AMR) put up a tenacious fight for the contract.
Earlier this month an evaluation committee narrowly recommended the county stick with Rural/Metro. After the recommendation, AMR filed a protest with the county's purchasing department and claimed there were conflicts of interest on the committee. The county ultimately rejected the protest and AMR decided not to pursue any additional appeals.
Rural metro's has held county's contract since 1985. When the new contract takes effect this July, Rural/Metro will no longer receive annual subsidy payments from the county. The previous contracts required the county to pay Rural/Metro more than $600,000 a year.
The new contract includes a couple of options to extend the contract in the future by an additional five years.
"We're excited and our 800 employees here are committed to serving this community with the very best EMS service possible," said Webb.