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Constantine submits levy proposal for King County Medic One and EMS
King County Executive Dow Constantine today transmitted an ordinance to the King County Council that would reauthorize funding, with voter approval, for the world-class King County Medic One/EMS system for the next six years.
“This is a responsible proposal to continue investing in what works: a regional Medic One/EMS system that saves lives,” said Constantine.
The continued funding would sustain the regional system of 30 fire departments, six paramedic agencies, five EMS dispatch centers and 20 hospitals that deliver essential, life-saving services throughout the region, regardless of location, day of the week or time of day. This system is recognized as one of the best in the country, and is acclaimed for its patient outcomes, including a nation-high 52% survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Most survival rates in the nation hover around 10%.
“This Medic One/EMS proposal has been thoroughly examined and allows us to meet the system needs and expectations of our residents, now and in the future,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law, Chair of the EMS Advisory Task Force subcommittee that developed the Basic Life Support (BLS) components of the levy proposal.
Developed collaboratively with regional partners, and endorsed by the EMS Advisory Task Force, the levy rate proposal for the 2014-2019 levy period, at 33.5 cents per $1,000 assessed value, would result in a $107 yearly charge to the average homeowner, which is three dollars less than the cost in 2008 for the same services. Compared to other EMS systems around the state, King County’s regional system is among the most economical, with one of the lowest levy rates statewide.
“I am pleased that our Task Force work has set the stage for a Medic One/EMS levy that preserves this vital service at a reasonable cost to our citizens,” said Redmond Mayor John Marchione, Chair of the EMS Advisory Task Force Finance Subcommittee.
Specifically, the 33.5-cent levy rate will:
- Maintain the existing number of medic units and not add any new units over the span of the next levy period;
- Fully fund eligible Advanced Life Support (referred to as ALS or paramedic) costs;
- Continue the contribution to support Basic Life Support (referred to as BLS or “first responders”);
- Continue programs that provide essential support to the system and encourage efficiencies, innovation, and leadership;
- Develop programs to address BLS demand and support BLS’s role in regional decision-making;
- Implement conservative financial policies and procedures that lend to financial stability; and
- Fund responsible level of reserves for unanticipated costs.
Transmittal of the EMS/Medic One levy rate is one important step in the process of getting a ballot measure before voters for the November 2013 general election. The King County Council will consider and approve a levy rate along with the 2014-2019 King County EMS Strategic Plan, which outlines how levy dollars will be spent.
In addition, state law requires that all cities with a population of over 50,000 approve sending the levy package to voters. Cities that have already approved the levy for the ballot include Bellevue, Kent, Federal Way, Renton, Redmond and Shoreline. The cities of Seattle, Auburn and Kirkland have not yet taken action.
Regional partners who support this levy proposal include the EMS Advisory Task Force, comprised of 19 leaders and decision makers from throughout the region, including representatives from larger and small cities and fire agencies; the King County Fire Chiefs Association; the King County Police Chief Association; the King County Public Safety Answering Point Association; the King County Board of Health; the Central Region EMS and Trauma Council; and King County Medical Program Directors.
For more information on the 2014-2019 King County Medic One/EMS Strategic Plan, including the proposed King County Medic One/EMS Levy, visit www.kingcounty.gov/health/ems