Live in Michigan? — A Bad Place to Have a Medical Emergency

Detroit_MI_EMS[1]Sure, the Michigan Senate at long last passed Medicaid expansion this week, but it’s still not advisable to have a medical crisis in the state — and it could get worse. It seems Rep. Matt Lori (R-59) has a plan to make it even more difficult for emergency medical services to reach you in your time of need.

A bill the Republican lawmaker introduced just prior to summer recess is getting some negative feedback from communities, particularly in rural areas. House Bill 4785, of which Lori is the sole sponsor, would create thirty new fees and fines on licensing of emergency responders, and would increase existing fees in 33 other related areas.

The Western Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs gathered at their annual summer fish boil, and the topic was at the top of their discussion. The Ludington Daily News reports:

The WMAFC cited a House Fiscal Agency analysis of the bill, which stated, as proposed, the bill could triple the $410,000 now raised by existing fees — and thus triple the costs to departments and communities.

If the bill passes, the association sees it as a possibility that some departments would be forced out of the medical response service.

“It’s a big concern,” Ludington Fire Chief Jerry Funk said. “It’s a lot of money for us rural departments, and for all departments.”

Lori told 7&4 News that he intends to rework the bill and have a new version up for consideration by early October. The current version is a non-starter with firefighters and House Democrats:

“We need to find a way to pay for it. It could end up costing a volunteer firefighter $1,200. We don’t need to put up any barriers between communities and volunteer firefighters,” said Rep. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids.

Here are the pay scales for emergency responders in Michigan (source: Michigan.gov)

Call Volume  EMT – Basic  EMT – Intermediate  EMT- Paramedic  EMT – Field Training Officer 
Less than 1,000 $20,201-$42,022 $22,031-$41,210 $30,426-$49,371
30,001 – 50,000 $17,899-$51,987 $17,060-$26,487 $22,088-$57,207 $35,617-$52,252
Greater than 90,000 $20,615-$33,782 $22,066-$38,373 $26,674-$52,444 $32,213-$49,280

Do we really want to be discouraging entry-level workers in the field by slamming them with these high fees — on top of their student loans and starvation wages?

It’s time for Michigan lawmakers to refocus on the health and well-being of the citizens of the state, and stop thinking about what the political dragoons from the Tea Party might threaten.

Real Republicans need to grow a pair.

Amy Kerr Hardin

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2 Responses to Live in Michigan? — A Bad Place to Have a Medical Emergency

  1. Lois Payette says:

    Wait! Am I reading this right – an EMT Basic earns less for 90,000 calls than for 30,001 to 50,000? What?? An EMT Intermediate earns more for 1,000 calls than for 90,000? A Paramedic earns less for 90,000 calls than for 30 to 50,000 calls? Last but not least, the EMT Field Trainer earns more for 30 to 50,000 calls than he does for 90,000 plus? What kind of screwy math is this? You punish the few who are in a high incident area, why? It’s hard enough to get good people to do these jobs and now you are going to add all kinds of fees & fines to their ridiculous salary scale. Are you GOP people in Lansing totally crazy?

  2. Freda Spooner says:

    Lord have mercy these greedy teapublicans are going crazy. We need to get rid of them as soon as possible. This is the dumbest thing I have heard of yet.

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