One of the more encouraging recent announcements at a San Benito County Board meeting happened Aug. 8 when supervisors learned about a new partnership to provide local residents the option to buy annual memberships for air and ground ambulance needs if they arise. 

Of course, we all hope to never use such a membership, but the investment is worth considering to avoid massive costs in the event that an emergency does occur. 

Kollin Kosmicki

County Emergency Services Manager Kris Mangano made the announcement about the membership, launched the first week in August, at a cost of $154 annually for an entire San Benito County household. This includes air and ground ambulance rides from American Medical Response, Calstar and other affiliated partners here or in areas where partners provide the services. 

Supervisors in 2022, including myself, requested development of this membership program as part of approving a five-year contract with AMR. That contract also includes fee waivers and discounts for lower-income residents. 

Mangano noted how the new program differs from existing Calstar memberships in that on top of the air ambulance service, this membership also provides up to two ground ambulance rides per year for the entire household. 

Interested participants must be San Benito County residents to become members. Mangano said there was a lot of work put into developing the program, and how county staff would be available to answer questions and provide more information at an upcoming emergency preparedness fair in September. 

In the meantime, the membership brochure is available at the OES location at 471 Fourth St. in Hollister. Residents with questions can call OES at 831.636.4168 or email Mangano at [email protected]. Otherwise, the sales manager for the program Dan Stomm is available at 907.205.0127 or [email protected]

As I told staff at the meeting, I’m proud of county employees and supervisors for moving ahead on this program. 

While nobody wants to think about the possibility of needing these services, we all know that emergencies do happen. When they occur, costs are typically in the thousands of dollars and add additional stress on top of everything else going on. 

Kollin Kosmicki is San Benito County’s District 2 supervisor.

How to apply

To enroll your household in a membership for air and ground ambulance needs, for $154 per year, call San Benito County OES at 831.636.4168 or email [email protected]. The sales manager for the program Dan Stomm is available at 907.205.0127 or [email protected]. Pickup a brochure about the program at 471 Fourth Street in Hollister. The program is available only for San Benito County households. 

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