PRESS RELEASE — Fire District Approves First Responder Fee
Press Release 22 July 2022.pdf
Camino, CA, Thursday July 21, 2022 — The El Dorado County Fire Protection District Board of Directors unanimously approved a First Responder Fee on Thursday afternoon at a regular board meeting. The First Responder Fee will support increasing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) costs for Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) services by first responders, not covered by property taxes. The First Responder Fee will be phased in over the coming months.
EMS is an essential community service and crucial to preserving a rural way of life, connecting people in our communities to emergency medical care. Traditionally, fire agencies responded to EMS calls to assist ambulance and to provide basic assistance such as splinting, bandaging, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation etc. Now, fire engines provide BLS and ALS levels of care and often treat patients before ambulance transport arrives. This level of care includes administration of medications, use of advanced airways and diagnostic quality electrocardiograms. It has been a challenge for the District to ensure revenues match the increasing expenses of providing these essential services. The need to combine general revenues from property taxes with user fees is a necessary model for sustainability. This type of fee has become commonplace across the Sacramento region.
When EMS is called for a victim, fire engines and ambulances respond regardless of a patient’s ability to pay for such services. The fire services response will now request a First Responder Fee connected to that patient’s care. Private insurance companies already set aside monies to cover such fees on behalf of their insured party. Attempts will be made to obtain insurance information to avoid individuals getting unnecessary bills. If someone is unable to pay a First Responder Fee due to lack of insurance or other financial circumstances, a compassionate billing policy will apply. The compassionate billing policy allows the waiver or reduction of the fee due to financial hardship.
For more information on the District’s First Responder Fee please visit eldoradocountyfire.com/first-responder-fee. The El Dorado County Fire Protection District provides fire, rescue, and EMS services in the communities of Placerville, Shingle Springs, Pollock Pines, Camino, Pleasant Valley, Cool, Coloma, Lotus, Pilot Hill, Oak Hill, Strawberry, and Kyburz.