As county officials take over the bidding process for ambulance service in most Orange County cities, county supervisors are set to begin giving policy direction on Tuesday about what those contracts should look like.

A central question has been whether ambulance companies or the Orange County Fire Authority will send patients a bill for a $388 “advanced life support” fee charged for the cost of Fire Authority paramedics responding to emergency calls.

When the issue last came to the board on March 4, two county supervisors sharply questioned the fee’s very existence.

The debate comes as county officials gear up to take over the ambulance contracting process from the Fire Authority in 19 cities.

That came as the result of a state determination that the county had improperly allowed the Fire Authority to oversee too much of the process.

As part of its new role, the county must submit its request for proposals for the 19 cities’ ambulance services to state officials for approval.

Another question will be who should constitute the panel that ranks the companies competing to provide the ambulance services.

State officials are requiring the highest-ranked bidders to be awarded the ambulance contracts. Supervisor Todd Spitzer has suggested placing supervisors themselves on the review panel.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. at the county Hall of Administration.

Curious what else is happening this week? Click here to check out our rundown at On the Agenda.

Please contact Nick Gerda directly at and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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