Thursday, October 28, 2010

DED for the Ambulance Fee

County Executive Ike Leggett used the Department of Economic Development's (DED) email system to send the following message yesterday about Question A, the ballot question on the ambulance fee.


October 27, 2010

Dear County Businessperson:

Montgomery County is facing an important issue that could have an adverse impact on our businesses, so I wanted to take a moment to give you the facts. County Question A concerns the County’s Emergency Medical Services Transport fee, which was passed by the County Council.

With the EMS Transport Fee, we have only three choices:

1) Approve the Fee so the County can recover ambulance transport costs from premiums already paid to insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid that amounts to $14 million this year and $170 million over the next 10 years. All revenues would be dedicated, by law, to strengthen our Fire & Rescue Service.

2) Without the Fee, cut an additional $14 million in critical services out of the County’s current year budget. According to the plan submitted on October 5 by County Executive Leggett to the County Council, the result could be $6 million in cuts to our County’s Fire & Rescue Service and a loss of 89 career firefighter paramedic positions. That will affect ambulance response times, making all of us less safe.

3) Without the Fee, raise taxes. County Executive Leggett has said that County residents already pay a Fire Tax and that there’s no reason to increase taxes when $14 million is there on the table in insurance reimbursements.

Recovering EMS Transport Fees from insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid makes good business sense. Nearly every jurisdiction in the Washington region is already collecting millions of dollars in these reimbursements – with no adverse effects. They are using those resources to save lives – and Montgomery County should do the same. We cannot afford to leave this money on the table.

Let me be clear. Contrary to what you might have heard, if County Question A is approved, no County resident will ever get a bill for ambulance transport, co-pays or deductibles -- whether they have insurance or not. And, there is no evidence that insurance premiums have risen because of implementation of a cost recovery program, because ambulance transport fees are already paid through most policies or coverage.

The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, which for many of us is the “gold standard” for the public interest, supports the County’s ambulance reimbursement program. So, too, do editorials in the Washington Post and the Gazette newspapers.

County Question A is about protecting our families, our businesses, and our property – at no additional cost to County businesses or residents. Learn more at:


Isiah Leggett
County Executive