Don’t tax emergency personnel

Emergency medical technicians are there when we need them, but a new proposal in Lansing might make it more expensive for them to do their job.
Jul 16, 2013

 

The state Legislature is looking at changes that would significantly increase fees for EMS workers to do their job.

House Bill 4785 is part of the state's 2014 budget. The anticipated fee increases total about $1 million. It has been built into the 2014 Department of Community Health budget.

If approved, the bill would:

• Increase existing fees for licensure of emergency medical services operations, vehicles and personnel.
• Establish new fees for emergency medical services education providers and programs.
• Establish new administrative fines for noncompliance violations.
• Strikes reporting language regarding a report required in July 2000.

Current fee rates were established in 1991 for EMS operations, vehicles and personnel. These costs currently range from $25 to $175 for licensure. The bill proposes changes to establish fees at $20 to $500 for licensure, including new ones.

According to state officials, the argument for the change is that the increased fees is needed to maintain the current licensing and regulatory program for emergency medical services personnel. This cost would be borne by the local emergency service.

We argue that the increase will hurt communities struggling to make already difficult budget decisions, and it may also persuade people to seek out alternative career choices if the cost to do the job becomes too much.

We’d all like to have a reliable, expert-filled community of emergency medical personnel, and having them makes quality of life in our local communities good.

If these fee increases hurt this service, will it be worth it? We urge state officials to find other ways to raise revenue without gouging the providers of essential emergency services.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

spartacus

Amen Grand Haven Tribune! Many of your readers would be surprised how little EMT's and Firefighters earn. Some make no money at all. The Tri-Cities area will lose a lot of good people if this legislation goes through. There are already enough state requirements that take a lot of unpaid time and energy to accomplish. Adding any more will simply turn away good people from doing these very important jobs.

zwesterhouse

Why don't they tax all those temp services that keep popping up? Fireman and EMS personnel don't make any money at all. This will drive alot of people to quit. So if they tax the temp agencies that would be good so they can be driven out.

newspaperlawyer

Maybe the GH Tribune should do your their homework before they spout off about these costs. The State of Michigan EMS Div has been cut and cut for years. Hopefully with increase in license fees they will get additional personnel to do a better job on oversight. All the fire department that response to medical emergencies are not mandated by any law to do so. They departments have taken on this response on their own. It has cost the twp tax payers a huge amount of money. The Twp boards have been sold a bag of goods. The volunteer fire department is far from being a volunteer operation. These guys are paid very well for all fire and medical training. They get paid approx. $20.00-40.00 for the first hour and then a hourly wage. The department is required to pay all cost as an employee under state law. You can not work for free any longer. So if this turns away good people to do these jobs.. then maybe they really did want to be part paid volunteer fire fighter or Medical First Responder. Most people do this job cause they really want to to the job like most school teacher do. The STate of Michigan has been collecting the same cost for over 30 years.

 

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