Monday, June 4, 2012
At the Quality of Life Committee meeting on June 5, at 8 pm, we will discuss the following DRAFT letter on the Emergency Medical Services Transport Insurance Reimbursement Act. Dear Mr. Leggett: On behalf of the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board (MCCAB), I am writing to express our support for the recently enacted Emergency Medical Services Transport Insurance Reimbursement Act. This Act will enable the County to collect an estimated $18 million a year from insurers to reimburse the County for the costs of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) services. This additional revenue will help the County absorb the anticipated shift of state pension costs. We are pleased that the Act includes the following provisions to safeguard County residents and enhance EMS services: • ensures that County residents will not pay out-of-pocket expenses for EMS transport; • establishes a patient advocate in the Office of Consumer Protection; • requires the Fire Chief to report semiannually to the County Council and County Executive regarding implementation of the Act; • requires the County to conduct a public outreach and education campaign; • requires the County to use revenues collected from insurers to supplement existing expenditures for EMS services, rather than supplanting existing spending. As you implement the EMS reimbursement program, we recommend that you focus special attention on the public outreach campaign mandated by the Act and measure the impact of this effort. This campaign is very important to assure residents that they will not be responsible for out-of-pocket costs related to EMS use. The revenue received under this program should go towards improving the County’s EMS system. Therefore, some of the new revenue should be used to develop additional EMS patient outcome measures. We recognize that the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service (MCFRS) has continued to make significant advancements in measuring EMS patient outcomes particularly in the area of treating patients experiencing heart attacks (STEMI) and sudden cardiac arrest. We urge MCFRS to develop additional measures and to include them as performance measures in the operating budget. [do we have other ideas for how the revenue should be used?] We will closely monitor the implementation of the Act, particularly its impact on residents who use EMS services and the performance of the EMS system. We look forward to working with you to improve EMS services in the County. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to share our views on this issue.