Thursday, April 26, 2012

Special Advisory Board meeting to discuss EMS reimbursement

The Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board will hold a special meeting on Monday, May 7 (7pm) to discuss the County Executive's proposal to establish an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reimbursement program.   County Executive Leggett submitted the legislation in response to recent Maryland General Assembly actions to shift the responsibility of funding teachers' pensions to the County. 

In the County Executive's letter to County Council President Berliner on the EMS Reimbursement Act, Mr. Leggett cites that, "an EMS reimbursement program is needed to fund fire and rescue services in the County and that emergency response services to residents will be impaired if the program is not established immediately."
The EMS Act, if passed by the County Council, would allow the County to do the following:
  • Offset the estimated $400 million that the teachers' pensions will cost Montgomery County over the next ten years ($27 million in FY13, increasing to $50 million by FY16);
  • Bring the County an estimated $170 million over the same period (or $14-$17 million per year) through reimbursement for EMS service;
  • Fund budget needs of our Fire & Rescue Services through the collection of costs of ambulance transports from insurance companies;
  • Leave more in the General Fund for other services and programs as the reimbursed funds would help fund fire and rescue needs.
For more information and viewpoints on the proposal, please see The Washington Post editorial and Gazette editorial in support of the EMS Reimbursement Act.  For an opposing point of view, please see the recent letter by County Councilmember Phil Andrews (Gaithersburg, Rockville) to the Gazette.

The purpose of the Advisory Board meeting is to develop a position and testimony on the proposed legislation.  The County Council's Public Hearing will be held on May 8.  County Fire Chief Ritchie Bowers and Councilmember Phil Andrews will attend and participate in the discussion.  The Advisory Board meeting will be held at the B-CC Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda.