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King County EMS Advisory Task Force recommendations seek to keep costs down and maintain acclaimed regional service

Following an eight month collaborative process with regional stakeholders, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Advisory Task Force adopted recommendations for a prospective renewal of the Medic One/EMS levy aimed at maintaining the integrity of our world class system.

“Our regional Medic One system provides critical life-saving services to the people in King County no matter where they live, work or play.  These recommendations will continue that strong tradition of service excellence, effective leadership, and regional collaboration,” said Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett, Chair of the Task Force.

King County’s world renowned EMS system is funded by a Medic One/EMS levy that will expire December 31, 2013.  The EMS Advisory Task Force, comprised of 19 regional leaders and decision-makers, was convened to review the needs of the system, and develop programmatic and financial recommendations to direct the system into the future.  The recommendations endorsed by the Task Force on July 26 will be the basis for the Medic One/EMS Strategic Plan and next EMS levy, which backers plan to propose for the ballot in 2013.

“I am pleased that our Task Force work will set the stage for a future levy that preserves this vital service at a reasonable cost to our citizens,” said Redmond Mayor John Marchione, Chair of the Finance Subcommittee.

“The Task Force achieved our goal to develop a proposal that will sustain our incredible EMS response system across King County, while maintaining the best value for the public,” said Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean, Chair of the Subcommittee tasked to review Advanced Life Support (ALS) services.

Highlights of the proposal include:

  • Continued funding of medic one services and a portion of first responder services for local fire and emergency response departments
  • A responsible level of reserves for unanticipated issues
  • Programs that specifically help address demands on first responders and support their role in regional decision-making
  • Programs that provide essential support to the system and encourage efficiencies, innovation and leadership
  • Conservative financial policies and procedures.

“These recommendations have been thoroughly examined and allow us to meet the system needs and expectations of our residents, now and in the future,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law, Chair of the Subcommittee that developed the Basic Life Support (BLS) components of the recommendation.

The recommendations will be forwarded to the County Executive and King County Council by September 15, 2012, and the Strategic Plan will be crafted and submitted to the King County Council by January 1, 2013.

“Having representatives from the King County Council, cities and emergency medical providers from throughout this County involved in the levy planning process helped us develop recommendations that are well-balanced to support the regional system,” said Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton, Chair of the Regional Services Subcommittee.

 

King County Emergency Medical Services operates in a coordinated partnership with four dispatch centers, six paramedic providers, and 30 fire departments. Funded through a countywide EMS/Medic One Levy, King County EMS utilizes a layered-response system providing a continuum of care for people in need of emergency medical services. For more information on King County EMS levy planning process, visit www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/ems/LevyReauthorization.aspx.

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