Bell's Ambulance Service
Caring for the communities of Healdsburg, Windsor, Geyserville and surrounding areas for over sixty-five years.
Update: January 4th, 2022
To: Citizens of Sonoma County
From: Pamela Bell Simmons
RE: Contract for Exclusive Operating Area
Sonoma County Fire District has initiated legal action against the County of Sonoma for control of Emergency Medical Services in Sonoma County. We do not agree with this action. Sonoma County Supervisors, Sonoma County Health Department and Sonoma County Emergency Medical Services Agency are doing what is best for our neighbors and citizens of Sonoma County. We have been working with these agencies for nearly two decades to find ways to improve the services we provide. Recently Bell's Ambulance Service was awarded an exclusive operating area to allow for longer term investments, more control by Sonoma County Emergency Services and parameters that benefit those we care for. We have been assured by Sonoma County Administrators that our contract will be awarded.We support all our first responder agencies, our local government and most importantly our citizens and will continue to provide the best service we can for emergency medical care and transport of the sick and injured.
We do not receive tax dollars for our service.We only charge for those who use our service at reimbursement rates set by government agencies and insurers. Bell's Ambulance Service simply wishes to continue to provide the same medical care and transport service we have to our neighbors for the past 65 years. We hope to continue working with Sonoma County to deliver services to the citizens as we always have.
Article from SoCo News...
The Sonoma County Fire District and the California Fire Chiefs Association, Inc. filed a joint lawsuit against the County of Sonoma late last month after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement on Nov. 16 that would allow Bell's Ambulance to stay operational via the creation of an Exclusive Operating Area (EOA). The two entities have turned to litigation because they claim they were not afforded the chance to have a hearing with the county to be able to weigh in on the matter, which according to Sonoma County Fire District Chief Mark Heine, breaks the county's own emergency medical services (EMS) ordinance and state law.
Link to Full Article on SoCoNews.org
Update: November 16, 2021
Several months ago, our Sonoma County Supervisors supported the local Emergency Medical Service Agency to enter a contract with Bell's Ambulance to secure an exclusive operating area. We are honored to be of continued service to our neighbors together with some of the finest first responders and fire agencies in Sonoma County. We appreciate the Supervisors who unanimously pledged their support for the Bell's Ambulance Service contract on March 23, 2021, during the County Board of Supervisors meeting. We particularly appreciate Supervisor Gore's support and leadership as well as that of Senator Mike McGuire who has monitored and helped lead us thru this process to ensure that our neighbors have the best emergency medical care possible. Most of all, thank you to our local businesses and community who have supported us for over 6 decades. We are honored and humbled.
To witness the result of your outspoken support of Bell's Ambulance Service, please virtually attend the 11.16.21, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Meeting, during which the 911 Emergency Ambulance Services with Advanced Life Support Transport Agreement for Bell's Ambulance Service, will be voted on.
Thank you once again for your continued support.
Link to Board of Supervisors Agenda
(The Bell's contract will be Item 26 on the Consent Calendar.)
Update: April 22nd, 2021
Thank you to the thousands of citizens, neighbors and friends for taking their time to write, call, e-mail, sign the Loriann petition and attend the Board of Supervisors meetings on behalf of Bell's Ambulance Service. We remain successful in our endeavor to be of continued service to our communities due to your kind words, and unwavering support as well as that of Supervisor Gore.
Your success is our success as we look forward to resuming contract negotiations with the County for our rural response area.
Update: March 26th, 2021
Thanks to our friends, neighbors and community, our supervisors unanimously agreed to support Bell's Ambulance Service and continue discussions. We have agreed to a contract as requested. The final vote is scheduled for April 13th and we will continue to need your support for this meeting.
This Tuesday, March 23rd, the Board of Supervisors is considering a proposal to absorb the areas including Healdsburg, Windsor, and Geyserville into the larger Santa Rosa service area for transport and emergency medical needs. This would likely decrease services, increase costs and possibly increase taxes. The merging of the service area would exclude Bell's from being able to service our community and thus put a local, 7-decade resource, and our neighbor, out of business.
Two generations of Bells have been your trusted provider in times of injury and illness, supporting you when you needed it most. With your support, we hope to continue serving your community.
Why It Matters To You
Bell's Ambulance and the Bell family live and work locally. They donate their time and resources to help benefit the community. During disasters such as our recent fires, Bell's put up 5 ambulances for weeks to make sure firefighters, and the community, had paramedics whenever needed without financial compensation. Moving to a large bureaucracy would change the character of the services the community receives.
Bell's currently employs an exceptional roster of EMTs and Paramedics with more experience than most agencies. They choose to work with the Bell family due to the focus on quality patient care and community involvement.
Bell's is not only one of our most important businesses but they are a solid part of our community and we want their service to continue.
How to Help
Please consider contacting the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. How to help...
- Write a Letter of Support
- Email or call your Supervisor
- Speak at the meeting during public comments on March 23rd, 2021 (Meeting Details)
- Sign the petition to save Bell's
- Share your story on social media
- Perhaps all the above?
Date & Time: Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 @ 8:30 AM
Location: Virtual via Zoom | Link to be provided
Meeting Details: General | Agenda | Relevant Agenda Item
Contact575 Administration Drive
Room 100 A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Phone: (707) 565-2241
Do you know who your Supervisor is? Supervisorial District Lookup
District 1 - Pat.Gilardi@sonoma-county.org
District 2 - Andrea.Krout@sonoma-county.org
District 3 - District3@sonoma-county.org
District 4 - firstname.lastname@example.org
District 5 - District5@sonoma-county.org
Questions and Answers
How is Bell's work received by other agencies and cities?
Bell's has letters of support from our local fire & government agencies, local businesses, local hospitals and neighboring agencies. Some examples:
- Mike McGuire, State Senator
- Healdsburg Fire Department - Jason Boaz, Fire Chief
- Windsor Chamber of Commerce - Lorene Romero, President & CEO
- Town of Windsor - Bruce Okrepkie, Mayer
- Geyserville Fire Protection District - Marshall Turbeville, Fire Chief
- St. Joseph Health - Regina Novello, RN, BSN, PhN, MSN
- Healdsburg District Hospital - Joseph P. Harrington, CEO
- Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce - Carla Howell, CEO
- California Ambulance Association - Ross Elliott, Executive Director
- Retired Doctor - David H. Anderson MD, FACP
Wait! I heard that Bell's area was grandfathered due to their long history?
Yes, the California Emergency Medical Services Authority recognized the current Bell's service area as being continuously serviced since 1956 and qualifies under Section 1797.224 as a grandfathering zone. Read the letter dated August 17th, 2007.
Would merging the service area lower ambulance rates? They often seem high.
Ambulance rates are determined by government & insurance. Rates may seem high, but collection rates specific to the industry are generally around 50%. No one is refused care via the 911 system, regardless of their ability to pay, and Bell's accommodates patients/families in our district who require care even if it's not an emergency. Additionally, we provide discounted rates for community events.
As the manager of Bell's I have had the honor to work for this family for many years. I have worked and consulted for Fire Agencies and many ambulance companies. It is rare to find any company so dedicated their mission. We have the best paramedics and EMT's I have ever had privilege to work with, they work at Bell's because of the dedication of the Bell's family to helping this community.
"Thank you, Bell Team for bringing me back to life."
On 10/20/17 the staff of Bell Healdsburg Windsor Ambulance Services saved my life. The last thing I remembered from that morning was feeling like I had the worst case of the flu. I want back to bed, feeling a trickle of sweat rolling down the side of my face, and thinking "oh man this is not good!". I woke up, unexpectedly, inside the ambulance with a needle being put in my arm.
Unknown to me, I almost died and was a very unbecoming shade of purple. I had a heart attack that is called a Widow Maker.
My symptoms were: being a woman, over 50 and doing too much. Sound familiar?
Thank you, Bell Team for bringing me back to life. Apparently it wasn't my time to leave this earth yet.
- Lorene Romero
All testimonials are subject to review or will be reviewed